‘Dark Horse’ Soldiers Tutor, Mentor Students

Sgt. Andrew Barton, an intelligence analyst with 4-9 Cav., 'Dark Horse,' 2nd BCT, 1st Cav. Div., helps instruct students from Gateway High School (GHS), Killeen, Texas, on algebraic equations with mathematics teacher Jerry Fields, during the Dark Horse adopt-a-school tutoring and mentorship program at GHS, Nov. 7. (Photo by Sgt. Quentin Johnson, 2BCT, 1st Cav Div PAO)

Sgt. Andrew Barton, an intelligence analyst with 4-9 Cav., ‘Dark Horse,’ 2nd BCT, 1st Cav. Div., helps instruct students from Gateway High School (GHS), Killeen, Texas, on algebraic equations with mathematics teacher Jerry Fields, during the Dark Horse adopt-a-school tutoring and mentorship program at GHS, Nov. 7. (Photo by Sgt. Quentin Johnson, 2BCT, 1st Cav Div PAO)

With peer pressure and competitiveness streaming through high school, the need to succeed could be a larger challenge to many teens struggling to pass.

In efforts to alleviate that stress, Soldiers from the 4th Squadron “Dark Horse,” 9th U.S. Cavalry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, conducted tutoring for students of Gateway High School, here, Nov. 7, as part of their adopt-a-school cooperation.

Led by 1st Lt. Nancy Gonzalez, Dark Horse assistant intelligence officer, a handful of soldiers took time to help GHS students with multiple subjects such as mathematics, English, economics and social studies; providing academic experience and mentorship outreach.

“We came to GHS to tutor students, speak with them about our careers and provide good community outreach,” Gonzalez said.

Having tutored before, Spc. Andrew Lim said he was grateful for the opportunity to participate in the English class, helping the students to achieve their goals and possibly make a difference.

“I was able to participate in current assignments, helping students with grammar and writing styles,” Lim, a Dark Horse cavalry scout added. “Who knew that something a simple as helping foster education in children could be so rewarding?”

Rewards go beyond improving education to being a role model for students who struggle in life and school.

“It is difficult for some GHS students to see a positive future for themselves, but with the military help, tutor and speak to them … it is fulfilling, intrinsic and inspiring,” 16-year GHS teaching veteran, Blake Harrup explained.

The students love when the military show up, they hear about the soldiers past and present life, in turn, students receive answers to their questions, which inspire them to look forward to their future, Harrup added.

“(GHS students) were very interested in our careers and why the Army would be good for them,” Gonzalez said. “I believe being here giving face to face answers was not just inspiring to some of them but exemplifies who we are as soldiers.”

Exemplifying a good soldier means being a good role model for the students to emulate, Lim added.

“A lot of times when students fail to thrive, it could mean a lack of positive role models in their lives,” he said. “I believe being here and Gateway partnering with the Army gives the students that need one, a good influential role model.”

Lim stated he could empathize with Gateway students because of the rough neighborhood and school he went to as a child. “I can relate … if things are tough at school, that can turn a persons mindset of the future the wrong way.”

Knowing the impact Dark Horse soldiers make by helping in the school is sporadic; Lim said it would help long term. “(Dark Horse soldiers) being here does help them, even if the results are not immediate,” Lim added.

Gonzalez said in the end, nothing but positive feedback from GHS students and staff. “I couldn’t be prouder of the support Dark Horse received from the GHS teachers, and the positive feedback we received from the students.”

Gonzalez said more tutoring and mentorship sessions are scheduled with GSH, and she is striving to make this a weekly Dark Horse adopt-a-school event.

2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division Public Affairs
Story by Sgt. Quentin Johnson

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