A little good news from Iraq..

Headlines and news casts are filled with news stories out of Iraq.. Here is another one, though it doesn’t include a car bombing with dozens of casualties, nor does it cite a bogus report on the number of Iraqi casualties. This news story is about the re-opening of two schools in Kirkuk which will serve as models for other schools in the area.

Provided we maintain our commitment in Iraq and Afghanistan, future generations will have opportunities to pursue vocations beyond bomb making, and seeking martyrdom. Our combat forces are fighting this generation of terrorists. The rebuilding efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan provide us the capability to combat the next generation of terrorists before they become terrorists. Unfortunately the media completely ignore this aspect of the War on Terror, despite the fact that this is where we win or loose.

Two Schools Re-open in Kirkuk

Mr. Adel, a science teacher at the Musalla Secondary School in Kirkuk, Iraq, hands a bag of school supplies to a student during a school re-opening ceremony, Oct. 12, 2006. The secondary school and a city elementary school  re-opened after being renovated over the summer as part of a program in which they will serve as models for other schools in the region. U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Michael Tuttle

KIRKUK, Iraq, Oct. 13, 2006 —Two schools re-opened here Oct. 12 after being renovated as part of a program in which they will serve as models for other schools in the area.

Musalla Secondary School students proudly hung their country and school flags on the newly painted walls of their refurbished school in preparation for a ceremony attended by local officials.

The secondary school and a city elementary school are the first of six to be renovated as part of the program.

“These schools were developed to set the example for Kirkuk,” said Maj. Paul Beekman, team chief, 402nd Civil Affairs Battalion. “The Board of Education can go in and look at the schools and the equipment, and emulate it throughout the region.”

The plan was funded by the Commander’s Emergency Response Program, funding authorized by Congress to restore Iraq. Local Iraqis were contracted to do the work over the summer while students were out of school.

The construction included a science laboratory featuring new computers. Students will now benefit from the improved learning atmosphere and the equipment.

“The school looks brand new and the environment will enable the students to be more focused,” said science teacher, Mr. Adel, through an interpreter. “The lab is a big improvement, allowing the students to learn hands-on.”

Musalla students were previously confined to small classrooms which limited the science projects they could work on. The new lab was designed with bigger rooms so that more students can get involved, Beekman said.

The commander of the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, joined the governor of Kirkuk and local education officials at the ceremony marking the reopening of the schools.

Col. Patrick T. Stackpole, 3rd Brigade Combat Team commander, told the students assembled in front of him that they are their country’s greatest resource.

“This is the best day I’ve had in Iraq,” said Stackpole. “Being the future of Iraq, take this opportunity and I hope to see some of you up here (on stage) someday.”

School supplies such as paper and pencils were donated by individuals stateside.

Computer desks and other materials used to build the laboratory were donated by a nongovernmental agency.

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Military.com has a list of charities that donate school supplies to the children of Iraq or to donate care packages to the troops in Iraq or Afghanistan.

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