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Transit Center celebrates Kyrgyzstan's first day of school
SYN-TASH, Kyrgyzstan ? Col Dwight Sones, 376th Air Expeditionary Wing commander, speaks at the first day of school at Syn-Tash School. Airmen from the Transit Center along with U.S. Embassy members delivered more than $30,000 in school supplies to this village Sept 1. (U.S. Air Force Photo/Staff Sgt. Michael Schocker)
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Transit Center Airmen participate during the first day of the new school year

Posted 9/3/2010   Updated 9/4/2010 Email story   Print story


by Tech. Sgt. Jennifer Buzanowski
376th Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs

9/3/2010 - TRANSIT CENTER AT MANAS, Kyrgyzstan -- On Kyrgyzstan's first day of school, Transit Center Airmen joined in the celebration Sept. 1. They, along with members of the U.S. Embassy, delivered more than $30,000 of supplies to Syn-Tash and Jhetigen schools in Syn-Tash Village, celebrated the second year of the Birdik Village School's $540 thousand remodel and brought the Air Force Band 'Galaxy' to perform at the House of Culture in Kant for middle and high school students.

Students across the country wore traditional white and black outfits, girls' hair adorned with white pom-poms. The Transit Center's Operations Group Commander Col. Todd Dierlam joined Birdik School and Col. Col. Dwight Sones, 376th Air Expeditionary Wing commander, and U.S. Ambassador Tatiana Gfoeller traveled to Syn-Tash Village and Kant.

Colonel Dierlam said he especially enjoyed his visit to Birdik Village. "My oldest daughter, Ann Marie, just started first grade back home, and seeing the excitement and fears of the first graders at the Birdik School here made me realize how much we have in common. Although it was a very foreign environment in a land far away from home, I felt very welcomed. I saw my daughter in many of the children at the school."

The Air Force band 'Galaxy' deployed and traveling U.S. Central Command welcomed Colonel Sones and the Ambassador during their performance to a few hundred students at the House of Culture. The Ambassador presented Mark Twain's Tom Sawyer printed in Kyrgyz - a special printing the U.S. Embassy sponsored.

Master Sgt. Mike Williams, the band's keyboard player, told the students he identified with the book. "The story of Tom Sawyer takes place where I grew up," said the 17-year career Army and Air Force bandsman.

At Syn-Tash Village, schools also received the gift of books. Gulnura Kanybekovna Dyikanbaeva, daughter of the Syn-Tash principal, said that the school supplies donated were going to raise the students' educational experience. She explained that many of the books were worn out and old - from the Soviet Union era.

The Jhetigen school director, Nurilya Kalieva, said that their school only had one computer. "One computer for 70 kids is not enough - this contribution is very significant. When our students go to higher school they will have this knowledge. Not only are the kids and teachers happy but also the parents. I hope for continued peace, harmony and kindness," she said.

Colonel Sones thanked both schools for inviting the Transit Center and Embassy to share their first day of school. "There's nothing wrong with dreaming big. My dream was to become a pilot in the U.S. Air Force and by studying and doing well in school I was able to achieve that - and you can do the same."

Maj. Elliot Safdie, humanitarian assistance director for the Transit Center, said that the teachers at both schools were so excited about the supplies they immediately began the thumb through the books with excitement. . "I'm so proud of all the service members who helped in this effort. It's an honor for Americans to work side-by-side with the people of Kyrgyzstan to make this country a better place for their children," said the Major.

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