V Corps provides English tutors to Polish Primary School

U.S. Soldiers part of V Corps Forward Company located at Camp Kosciuszko, Poland, talk to 8th grade students about Christmas traditions in Poland, at Szkola Podstawowa Elementary School, in Biskupice, Poland Dec. 21, 2022. V Corps Soldiers were invited to visit the school by Headmaster Agnieszka Sliperska and English teacher Marta Siwak-Labeda. (U.S. Army photo by Spc. Devin Klecan)

BISKUPICE, Poland — U.S. Army V Corps Soldiers spent time helping the students of Szkola Podstawowa Elementary School practice their English, in Biskupice, Poland, Dec. 21.

Headmaster Agnieszka Sliperska and English teacher Marta Siwak-Labeda invited the Soldiers back after their first visit in September 2022 was a success. The visit gave 7th and 8th grade students a chance to utilize the English they have learned and gain confidence in their conversation skills.

“So, the first and most important thing is to push kids to speak,” said Siwak-Labeda, who has taught at the school for two years. She teaches 260 students at the school, 60 of whom participate in the visit with the Soldiers. “Our meetings [with the Soldiers] last for about three hours every month. The goal is to focus on speaking, speaking, speaking. The Soldiers are really cheerful, easy going, and kids aren’t afraid to speak with them. That’s the reason, and the most important factor for them coming here.”

Sliperska took over as headmaster in September of 2022. Her predecessor held the position for 32 years. As part of her new leadership, Sliperska implemented monthly visits to the school by U.S. Soldiers. She said the students enjoy the break from a typical day in the classroom and benefit from the interactions.

“Kids are really happy, and they are really interested in the Soldiers, so they’re waiting and excited,” said Siwak-Labeda. “They want to take photos and want to talk… I also noticed that most of my students who are really shy in class are sitting here and talking through language, the real, everyday language, and aren’t afraid to make mistakes. That’s an important thing for me.”

During V Corps’ visit, Soldiers and students focused on talking about Christmas traditions, and the differences and similarities between how Christmas is celebrated in America and Poland.

“Missions like these are important to help build positive relationships with the local community,” said Staff Sgt. Kyle Mcguigan. “By having us interact with the locals, not just the Polish military, we can let the community know that we are here and that we care about them. It helps us show that we are not just here for military missions on a base.”

V Corps Soldiers continue to build a growing relationship with the school and students. Soldiers have been invited to visit the students monthly, with different activities and Soldiers scheduled to make a presence at the school in the future.