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Members of the DODDS-Korea community in Area II gather at a reception for new teachers at the Dragon Hill Lodge on Friday evening.
Members of the DODDS-Korea community in Area II gather at a reception for new teachers at the Dragon Hill Lodge on Friday evening. (T.D. Flack / S&S)

YONGSAN GARRISON, South Korea — New teachers were feted at an Area II U.S. Army Support Activity reception Friday and given a primer on their importance to the military.

Lt. Gen. Charles C. Campbell, 8th Army commander, told the crowd of about 200 Department of Dependents Schools staff and family members at the Dragon Hill Lodge that they shared “a very powerful partnership” in ensuring the next generation would be raised with character and integrity.

“We are bonded — educator and soldier — as Americans,” he said.

Campbell stressed how important education is to the military families and said the educators are now part of a “recruiting and retention issue.”

“We recruit soldiers … we retain families,” he said, and soldiers will only stay in the Army if they’re happy with their quality of life.

“And that’s why you’re important,” he said, adding that the educators enrich the community.

“I don’t know that there is any more important work to be done,” he said of teaching the children.

He challenged the 37 staff members who joined DODDS-Korea this year to learn about the military and to learn about Korea.

Getting to know the troops might take the teachers out of their comfort zone, Campbell said, but the effort is worthwhile.

“They are special people in the way they choose to live their lives,” he said of the military. “They value those who choose to serve others.”

Area II commander Col. Ronald C. Stephens, with his own children in all three schools on base, thanked teachers for their valued efforts.

“The high number of returning teachers — 153 — speaks well of the school system which continues to achieve high marks,” Stephens said. “Teachers, students and parents all rated … schools in Korea above the national average.”

Korea District Superintendent Charlie Toth thanked Area II; the Korea Regional Office, Installation Management Agency; 8th U.S. Army; and U.S. Forces Korea for a “total commitment” to helping DODDS succeed.

Toth said the command, staff, parents and children all were exceptional, calling Korea the “assignment of choice” for educating the 4,269 enrolled students across the peninsula.

Linda Bocek, a speech and language pathologist arrived in Korea for the first time about six weeks ago. She said she appreciated the reception, which gave her a chance to meet people and mingle.

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