McConnell Airmen recognized by Clark Elementary

  • Published
  • By Airman Paula Arce
  • 22nd Air Refueling Wing

Clark Elementary School recognized McConnell Air Force Base with an appreciation award May 10 at the school in Wichita, Kansas. Airmen from McConnell volunteered to mentor and tutor the students for over eight years.

“It’s sad to see them go,” said Capt. Aqeel Mitchell, 22nd Air Refueling Wing command post chief. “Hopefully the students that we did get to interact with have a meaningful impact on the future and I look forward to what they will have to offer to society as they grow up.”

Mitchell mentored children from Clark Elementary and partook in the “lunch buddies'' program. Mentorship has notable, positive lifelong benefits on students that show early warning indicators that they may be falling off-track. Students who face an opportunity gap but receive mentorship are 55% more likely to go to college than their peers who did not receive mentorship, according to a survey, written by Civic Enterprises in partnership with Hart Research.

Senior Airman Andrii Skoryk, bioenvironmental engineering technician, has been volunteering at Clark Elementary for two years. He is one of the over 50 Airmen that have visited the school with the intent to provide mentorship.

“The lunch buddies program is a mentoring and tutoring program designed to assist students with academic and behavioral needs,” Skoryk said. “Taking care of kids today is taking care of our future. I feel invested in them and truly want them to succeed.”

Clark Elementary is one of six Wichita public schools scheduled to close at the end of the 2023-2024 school year. McConnell’s ‘lunch buddies’ program will come to an end with the close of the school. Although the school is closing their doors, the memories shared by Clark Elementary students and volunteer Airmen from McConnell are everlasting.