The Citizen - April 2021

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Vol. 50, No.4, April 2021

Serving the Greater Stuttgart Military Community

Celebrating the Month of the Military Child

Commander’s Column: I’m glad I lived here

By Col. Jason Condrey U.S. Army Garrison Stuttgart Commander

This will be my final column as your garrison commander. Though COVID has been at the center of most conversations over the last year, I want to focus on essential topics like Month of the Military Child and Sexual Assault Prevention Month in April because no amount of COVID can take away from their importance.

Every instance of sexual assault or harassment in our community is an injury to our community for which there is no prescription medication nor vaccination. We cannot, for one minute, relax our standards when it comes to dealing with this threat. Every member in our community deserves to feel safe and protected from these harmful and corrosive behaviors. In April we use our platforms to educate on the services available in the community, but every day we must commit to building awareness, speaking up, and intervention. April is also the month of the military child and this year, more than ever, we have asked a lot of our kids. I started my military life right here in Stuttgart, as an Army brat. I was born at the 5th General Hospital in Bad Cannstatt not too many years ago, and I took my first steps just outside of a stairwell apartment identical to what many in our community call home. To say I understand the challenges that our military youth face, was once accurate. But just as COVID has impacted the way we think, it has greatly changed the way our children learn, interact within the community and grow. As our world went virtual, our DoDEA staff has done a fantastic job adjusting on the fly and creating an online presence that is impactful and engaging. But our kids have still missed so much. Rites of passage like class field trips, pep rallies, sports, clubs, homecoming games and dances were cancelled. Graduation, birthday parties, holidays and family vacations were cancelled or became much more contained and close-to home. Our youth, who were already known as resilient and tough, had to take on challenges that made us, as adults, want to scream. As a father of four, I know they did not stand silently by as I wrote policies that discouraged trickor-treating, or halted sleep-overs, but they abided by them and they pulled their own weight in this battle against COVID. And for that, I am grateful. Kids across the globe felt the impacts of the coronavirus, but once again, when given the chance, our kids showed just how resilient a military child can be. The integrity of our youth is also a direct reflection of their upbringing. Their willingness to sacrifice for the safety of their classmates and friends shows the willingness of parents to teach them to put others first. For that, I thank this community for leading our next generation of leaders, by example. Everyone in this community played a part in our community’s success during the last two years. From the children, to the adults, each of you has 2

April 2021

U.S. Army Garrison Stuttgart Commander Col. Jason Condrey signed a proclamation in support of Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month. SAAPM is observed every April with a month-long campaign to combat sexual assault and harassment within the Stuttgart military community. Photo by Paul Hughes.

had an impact on my family and me. When I took effort prepared by more capable professionals. With over as your garrison commander, I had 23 years our medical providers at the forefront, the garrison of experience centered on taking the fight to the staff stepped up and stepped into the fight in the most enemy. Serving as a Garrison Commander appeared effective way. to require a departure from his mindset. However, A year ago, no one knew how to handle COVID. COVID brought an enemy to our doorstep. Suddenly But today we are seasoned veterans. That process our offices, schools and homes became the battle field began on day one when local leaders rolled up their and our family members, once safe back at home, sleeves and got to work studying this new adversary, were beside us all on the and it continues today. front lines. That’s why, as I pre“Everyone in this community On top of that, the pare to hand the reigns enemy had changed. I played a part in our community’s over to your incoming could no longer quickly commander, success during the last two years. garrison assess and pinpoint Col. Matt Ziglar, I am weaknesses, nor pick confident that both the From the children, to the adults, the time and place to community, and he, each of you has had an impact engage - setting the are in good hands. The on my family and me.” terms of how we would Ziglar family has been fight. In addition to part of this community’s defending our families, friends and homes against COVID fight for almost a year. I trust that what we all an almost invisible adversary, roles had reversed. I started together, he will ensure you finish together. quickly learned how best to support the health clinic As my family and I say our goodbyes and depart, I and other medical volunteers and our service provid- know that this community and the people we’ve met, ers that were now the “tip of the spear.” And words will stay with us long after we have gone. So, in case cannot express enough, how they rose to the occayou haven’t heard this from me yet, thank you, for sion - quickly and effectively. I know the battle has making this a home we will always be glad we lived been long, it is not quite over, and we are all growing in. And in case you miss hearing it, I’ll leave you with weary. And it can be easy to get discouraged when our these parting words one last time. Stay vigilant, stay methods don’t seem clear. I can assure you that never focused and stay healthy. After all, its COVID day until before have I seen a more organized and deliberate it’s not.

Content Commander’s Column: I’m glad I lived here ������������������� 02


New Arrivals at the Library: For kids ������������������������������� 04

Senior Enlisted Adviser Command Sgt. Maj. Billy Norman

Stuttgart youth preserve their inheritance ���������������������� 05

Public Affairs Officer Larry Reilly

Despite COVID, Stuttgart students keep calm and carry on with college plans ���������������������������� 06

Managing Editor Becca Castellano Contributors Bardia Khajenoori, Paul Hughes, Geoffrey Morris, Gerard Mauterer, Leyla Burns

Chaplain’s Corner: Don’t lock your heart ���������������� 08

USAG STUTTGART PUBLIC AFFAIRS OFFICE Building 2949, Panzer Kaserne Army Post Office Mailing Address Unit 30401, APO AE 09107 German Mailing Address Panzer Kaserne Geb. 2949, 3rd Floor, Panzerstrasse, 70032 Böblingen

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Telephone 09641-70-5962485 DSN (314) 596-2485 Website Facebook USAGarrisonStuttgart/ PUBLISHER AdvantiPro GmbH Europaallee 3 67657 Kaiserslautern Telephone +49 (0) 631-30 3355 30 Website Managing Director Bret Helenius ADVERTISING IN THE CITIZEN Display Advertising Contact Jennifer Holdsworth Telephone +49 (0) 631-30 3355 37 Email The Stuttgart Citizen is an authorized newspaper, produced in the interest of the U.S. Army community in Stuttgart by the U.S. Army-Garrison Stuttgart Public Affairs Office. Contents of the Citizen are not necessarily the official views of, or endorsed by, the U.S. Government or the Department of the Army. The Stuttgart Citizen is printed by AdvantiPro, a private firm in no way connected with the U.S. Govt., under exclusive written agreement with U.S. Army Stuttgart. It is published monthly using the offset method of reproduction and has a printed circulation of 5,000 copies. Everything advertised herein shall be made available for purchase, use or patronage without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, marital status, physical handicap, political affiliation, or any other non-merit factor of the purchaser, user or patron. The appearance of advertising herein, including inserts and supplements, does not constitute endorsement by the Dept. of the Army, or AdvantiPro, of the firms, products or services advertised.

FAP offers courses to combat child abuse ������������������ 09 Seeking treasure in a year full of gloom ��������������������������������������� 10 Escape to the great outdoor gems surrounding Stuttgart ���������������� 12

Online AFN radio: OR 102.3 FM Get the USAG Stuttgart App: Download from your app store



Get a taste of Europe during the Spring Bazaar �����������14 Ambassadors pave path to success for new students ������������������������14 There is no place like an on-post home ����������������������� 16 Service Spotlight: SHS Seniors continue family legacy of military service ��������������������� 18 The Big Question: Kids, if you were in charge at home, what is the first rule you would make? ����������������������������� 19 Cover artwork by Kiera French, 13. French’s design was chosen from several community youth submissions representing what it means to be a military child. To see more submissions, visit the USAG Stuttgart Flickr page. Background drawing by Emily Castaneda, 8.

Unless otherwise indicated, all seven-digit phone numbers in The Stuttgart Citizen are DSN numbers and all longer numbers are civilian.

April 2021


New arrivals at the library

By Becca Castellano U.S. Army Garrison Stuttgart, Book covers and descriptions courtesy of

This April, the friendly librarians at the Patch Library are celebrating the Month of the Military Child with rows and rows of movies, TV series, video games and books just for kids. Find something to read, watch or play for all ages, and if you can’t find what you’re looking for, just use their online request system to see if it can be shipped from another location for your use. COVID-19 restrictions don’t have to stop you from embarking on an adventure. Just visit, select our local library on Patch and pick out up-to ten items from their massive database. Then sit back and wait for a notification that your order is ready. It’s as easy as that to learn, play and grow with the awesome team at the Patch Library.

Milk Bar: Kids Only By Christina Tosi Dedicated to the next generation of young bakers, Milk Bar: Kids Only presents more than eighty-five fun and empowering recipes to inspire imagination in the kitchen, from Apple Pie Waffles to PB&J Cereal Treats to Strawberries and Cream Cupcakes to marshmallowy Choco Crunch Cookies. This is a cookbook that teaches kitchen skills­— perfect for kids as well as anyone who’s learning to bake — and reminds newbies and veteran bakers alike that a little personality adds a whole lot to the mix. Whether they’re transforming a donut into a milkshake or creating their own flavored butters for smearing onto biscuits, readers will have plenty of opportunities for mixing and matching within recipes to help their creativity run wild. Spiders: New and Updated Edition By Gail Gibbons From tiny baby spiderlings to large tarantulas, nonfiction master Gail Gibbons’ introduction to these intriguing arachnids reminds us that even when they look scary, most spiders are 4

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harmless — and even helpful! There are over thirty thousand kinds of spiders in the world — small and large, colorful or gray — and they live, hunt, and adapt in different ways. A number of different species and spider behaviors are highlighted in this book, accompanied by clear, labeled illustrations and important vocabulary. This new and updated edition, vetted by an entomologist, includes revised illustrations and the latest in arachnid science. Filled with interesting trivia and information on the history of spiders, as well as an explanation of the difference between spiders and insects, this is a great introduction that takes the fear out of our eight-legged, web-spinning friends. It’s a Numbers Game! Soccer: The Math Behind the Perfect Goal, the Game-Winning Save, and So Much More! By James Buckley Jr. Whether you call it soccer or football, “the beautiful game” wouldn’t be the popular game it is without numbers. From the clock counting up the seconds to positioning your feet at the right angle for the perfect dribble, this book reveals the ways digits and math are part of the game. Read about soccer greats from all over the world racking up points, championships, and even Olympic medals. Learn how goalies use geometry to guard the net and check out cool graphics that show the probability that a goalie will be able to stop a penalty kick. Soccer fans everywhere will get a kick out of this numberfocused look at the game, jam-packed with sports trivia, awesome photos, and fun activities at the end of every chapter. Middle School Bites: Tom Bites Back By Steven Banks and Mark Fearing Eleven-year-old Tom was bit by a vampire, a werewolf, and a zombie right before the first day of middle school. It was a weird and crazy day. And the worst part? Even a Vam-Wolf-Zom needs to go to sixth grade. At least his neighbors and

classmates seem to have accepted him. Annie even wants him to join her band! Plus, there are some cool things about having vampire and werewolf traits. Tom has night vision now, and he’s super-fast and strong. (There’s nothing cool about being a zombie.) Maybe life as a VamWolf-Zom will be as EXCELLENT as his best friend, Zeke, predicted. But when the bat that bit Tom shows up again, and speaks to him, he knows it’s time for a new plan. Tom’s adventures continue as he navigates normal sixth grade stuff - singing in a band, dressing up for Halloween, tolerating his older sister - despite being the only Vam-Wolf-Zom known to humankind. Ida B. the Queen: The Extraordinary Life and Legacy of Ida B. Wells By Michelle Duster Called “a dangerous negro agitator” by the FBI, and a “brave woman” by Frederick Douglass, an inspiring biography of the American pioneer by Ida B. Wells’s great-granddaughter, Michelle Duster. Winner of a 2020 Pulitzer Prize Special Citation, Ida B. Wells was born enslaved in Holly Springs, Mississippi, in 1862. In this inspiring and accessible biography, Duster tells the incredible story of Wells’s life, including stories from her childhood in Mississippi, her famous refusal to give up her seat on a ladies’ train car in Memphis, and her later work as a pioneering journalist and anti-lynching crusader. Overlooked and underestimated, Wells would single-handedly change the course of American history and come to inspire millions. Ida B. the Queen shines a bright light on one of the most extraordinary women in history.

Stuttgart youth preserve their inheritance

By Paul Hughes U.S. Army Garrison Stuttgart

Salomé Cook and Emilie Patrick attend the Women’s Equality Day event, hosted by AFRICOM, to spread awareness of the Roots and Shoots club. Photo by Becca Castellano

Above: Emilie Patrick enjoys the nature she is helping to protect through her work as the founder of the Stuttgart chapter of the Roots and Shoots club. Photo courtesy of Emilie Patrick

Left: Dennis Nosek and Gordon Mestler from Scout Troop 154, on Kelley barracks, take part in a trash collection drive on Patch Barracks.

In April we celebrate the Month of the Military Child and Earth Month, and since one day the children will inherit this planet, the U.S. Army Garrison Stuttgart community youth are investing into that inheritance now.

Emilie Patrick describes herself as a very compassionate person who has always been “super” into the environment. She said being a military child helps her understand how environmental issues affect different cultures through a “global point of view.” When she noticed that there was a lot happening to the environment that she didn’t agree with, Patrick began looking for ways she could advocate for change. Her search led her to Heather Robertson, a Spanish teacher at the Stuttgart High School and once the Heidelberg sponsor for “Roots and Shoots,” a global network of over 2,000 teams supporting young people affecting positive change in their communities. With Robertson’s advice and sponsorship, Patrick founded the Stuttgart Roots and Shoots club. “After going virtual because of COVID, we doubled our membership last year to include people from every grade,” said Patrick, who believes it is easier for students to get involved in online evening events. “Right now we have 30 members, ranging in grades from sophomore to seniors.” Lockdown hampered the efforts of the group to get together, roll up their sleeves and physically drive forward programs with action. Instead of gathering for environmental cleanups or information booths at public events, much of the activism took place online. “Here in this school I have a platform that I can work with and there

are plenty of amazing people whom I can collaborate with and learn from,” Patrick said, referencing the many successful online calls she has had between students. Patrick even networked with AFRICOM in conjunction with the women’s mentoring program in 2020. The club will begin working with the elementary school in the spring to inspire a younger generation of students to get involved. Once COVID restrictions relax, Patrick hopes to teach the students how to plant fruits and vegetables in the school's greenhouse garden. While Roots and Shoots is busy promoting and raising awareness for environmental issues and encouraging young people to stand up for what they believe in, another 23 young members of our local Boy and Cub Scouts of America groups — adhering to all COVID precautions — took community action on post. “One aspect of Scouting is service,” said John Johnson, Scout Master, Troop 154. “Any Scout wishing to progress through the seven ranks of scouting must complete service hours, but the idea is not just to do it for the hours, but to learn the importance of giving back to the community.” Troop 154 organized trash pickup days to create a cleaner garrison, including a recent drive on Patch Barracks after a snow melt revealed a lot of litter. While the reaction to picking up trash wasn’t initially one of excitement, the scouts realized their positive impact, not only on the community, but on the environment. “When they see what they have done and when they finish, they always exclaim that it was a lot of fun and that they enjoyed doing it.” Johnson said. The scouts and Roots and Shoots plan to recognize Earth Day, on April 22, with more activities, perhaps on a kaserne near you.

Photo courtesy of Scout Troop 154

April 2021


Stuttgart High School Senior Jack Barriger poses for a photo with his family after signing his letter of intention to join the cross country team at Methodist University in North Carolina. Barriger’s older sister Geneva, who also attends Methodist University, watched the signing ceremony virtually. Photo by Geoffrey Morris

Despite COVID, Stuttgart students keep calm and carry on with college plans By Bardia Khajenoori U.S. Army Garrison Stuttgart

Stuttgart High School senior Jackson Barriger has been in touch with college athletic recruiters since his sophomore year. And yet, when it came to deciding which university to attend, one major consideration for the 2021 graduate was the possibility of college life without competing in his sports.

“I really want to run in college, but I also had to find a college where, God forbid, something happens like COVID sticks around, or I get injured or something, where I can actually be happy in the area and at the school without having athletics,” said Barriger. The track and cross country athlete’s thinking — particularly in the wake of a track season canceled due to coronavirus concerns — brings to 6

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light the extent to which the pandemic has shaped the current post-high school planning process and how local college-bound seniors have tried to clear its hurdles. On-site campus visits, for example, remain limited or suspended at many schools in the U.S. and abroad, and international travel restrictions (including quarantine requirements) mean they can be impractical for Stuttgart-based students even when they are technically possible. But, with a year since the onset of the pandemic, schools have had time to improve their online presence and in-person safety procedures for a new crop of prospective students. Nearly all of Barriger’s prospective colleges have virtual tours on their websites, which he said made it easy to get a feel for each school and narrow down the most serious options. As a recruiting prospect, he

was able to join in a school-sponsored November visit to his eventual pick, Methodist University, with rigid scheduling and adherence to safety protocols. SHS senior Gina Forzano, who spoke to the Citizen earlier this year about the challenges of creating the school yearbook amid the impacts of coronavirus, also felt the effects firsthand on her college search, being unable to visit potential schools in the United States and United Kingdom. Changes to standardized testing schedules led to one fewer SAT attempts for Forzano, and a switch to an online format for Advanced Placement (AP) tests led to her scores being “not as high as I’d have liked them to be,” she said. And although she was “lucky enough that the teacher I asked for a recommendation, I’ve known for three or four years,” the nature of spending so much time in remote learning this year could potentially be a disadvantage for some students. “You don’t have a lot of class in person when you can see the teacher face-to-face, so you don’t have as much of the teacher’s recognition of your skill set, and what you’re able to work through on your own, and what they need to help you with,” said Forzano. Conversely, far from harming his chances with athletic recruiting, Barriger believes the circumstances following the cancellation of the school track season could have even given him an edge — allowing him to demonstrate his work rate and determination. “When we didn’t have a track season [in fall 2020], when that got canceled, I continued training,” he said, having participated in a virtual season which involved running races independently and uploading documentation of his performance. “I just trained as if there was a season, and they were really impressed by that.” Alicia Bal, assistant campus director of the Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University Worldwide campus in Stuttgart, believes resilience in the current conditions is key. “I think right now, it’s really very important to be flexible and to have the ability to adapt, and I think it’s also really important to develop those habits of discipline” when it comes to online classes, said Bal. Bal encourages college-bound students to take into account the variety of educational options available to them, which include traditional brick and mortar colleges as well as online campuses (some of which have mixed methods of instruction), and decide which sort of experience they want. For those going the ‘traditional’ on-campus route, Bal suggests taking into account the methods of instruction, as well as procedures in place to protect from COVID-19 transmission. “Many universities have different measures in place to teach back in class again, even though there may be limited class sizes, and some of them will still allow you the option to attend that class online,” said Bal. “Most schools have a pretty good handle on transitioning to online learning since they’ve done it before, so for me, it is definitely about the hygiene measures. Are they requiring masks, or taking temperatures?” Speaking anecdotally, Bal feels students are being more flexible now in terms of what they want in a college experience, and more willing to take their time with making a choice. That could mean looking at European schools, opportunities on post like the Embry-Riddle campus, or some

Stuttgart High School Senior Gina Forzano holds up an acceptance email she received to Bath Spa University in the United Kingdom, where she will study creative writing in the fall. Photo courtesy of Forzano Family

other temporary college enrollment option to stay closer to family for the time being. And some college decision factors would not necessarily have been considered pre-COVID, like the speed of the dormitory internet and its ability to handle the load of residents all streaming virtual courses simultaneously, she added. For her part, Forzano, who will move to the U.K. in September to start a creative writing degree at Bath Spa University, has a tempered optimism about conditions in the fall. “Seeing as we’re supposed to have the majority of people vaccinated by then, supposedly, I’m hoping that we’ll be able to actually meet in person for workshops,” said Forzano, who added she will continue to prepare for the possibility that her college career might begin virtually.


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April 2021


Chaplain’s Corner: Don’t Lock Your Heart

A theater marquee in downtown Stuttgart uses a play on COVID-19 to bring some humor to passersby. Photo by Chaplain Gerard Mauterer

thing so small, seemingly insignificant and hidden away can spark life when you stumble across it?

By Chaplain Gerard Mauterer 10th Special Forces Group

But now, when you read the right panel of the marquee, you realize that was indeed the theater’s intent: to encourage and inspire all of us to actively resist COVID’s temptation to become introverted and isolated from our loved ones, our families, our friends and the world. “Lockdown. But Don’t Lock Your Heart,” it reads. For over a year, our Stuttgart military community has amazingly weathered Europe’s more stringent COVID restrictions and lockdown measures, and yet, our return to freedom and normalcy still appears to be out of reach. As the long COVID winter continues

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Did you look at the picture? Pretty funny, don’t you think? When my wife and I stumbled across this theater’s marquee in downtown Stuttgart, we couldn’t help but laugh at the left panel which reads, “Closed Again. The Virus Strikes Back Pt. 2. One of the Worst Movies Ever Made.” It was funny to us not only because it parodied Star Wars, a movie franchise we enjoy, but also because it brings a little joy and encouragement into the lives of those who read it, much as a ray of sunlight does after we’ve been enduring the bone-chilling, bleak and overcast gloom of a long winter. To that end, the marquee was successful: we laughed! Didn’t you? Isn’t it amazing how some-

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April 2021

to loom over us, we long for, we’re beholden to, and we need every ray of sunlight that breaks through, that warms our hearts and builds our hope. For, as you’ve no doubt experienced, this unnatural COVID isolation (especially for creatures who were designed to be social) can easily tempt us to become introverted, downcast and removed from our loved ones, our families, our friends and the world. Lockdown. But Don’t Lock Your Heart. So, over the past year, what has brought rays of sunlight into your life? Was it a continuous source of encouragement to you, or was it more temporary, fleeting and short lived? Many of us, for instance, experience rays of sunlight through the observance and celebration of holidays and traditions, while, for others, they may occur through exercise, fitness and being outdoors, or even through close video connection with family and friends. Perhaps you were able to witness such rays of sunlight in the eyes of a child on Easter morning when, after searching feverishly throughout the underbrush in the backyard, they discovered a candy-filled Easter egg! Isn’t it amazing how something so small, seemingly insignificant and hidden away can spark life when you stumble across it? Lockdown. But Don’t Lock Your Heart. So, during tough times such as this, we must purposefully seek out every ray

of sunlight with a passion similar to that of a person in a desert who seeks out water. These rays are essential to our mental and emotional well-being. Yet, due to their temporary, fleeting and short-lived nature, they must continuously be replenished, as one who drinks from a cup of water. That is why Jesus, the Son of God, died on the cross for you and me, and was resurrected by the Father on Easter morning: to quench our thirst once and for all. “Jesus answered, ‘Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them, will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.’” (John 4:13-14) So, despite the bone-chilling, bleak and overcast gloom of an eternal winter that looms over us all as a result of our sin, “God, who so loved the world, gave His one and only Son that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16) Consider reflecting upon the work that was done for you and me in a small tomb near a Judean hill called Golgotha, outside of Jerusalem from which come not just any rays of sunlight, but rather the permanent rays of Sonlight, our Living Hope. Isn’t it amazing how something so small, seemingly insignificant and hidden away can spark life when you stumble across it? Lockdown. But Don’t Lock Your Heart.

FAP offers courses to combat child abuse By Leyla Burns Family Advocacy Program Specialist U.S. Army Garrison Stuttgart, ACS

April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month and U.S. Army Garrison Stuttgart’s Family Advocacy Program (FAP) will conduct virtual events to help recognize the resiliency of our children and to promote healthy families.

FAP is a congressionally mandated pro­ gram designated to address domestic abuse, child abuse and neglect, and problematic sexual behavior in children and youth. The program provides prevention, education, early reporting and intervention a well as treatment services to promote and develop strong, resilient and healthy families. The COVID-19 pandemic has created addi-

tional stress on families and that added stress can put families at an increased possibility of having a child abuse incident. The FAP conducts stress management, anger management, couples communication and positive parenting classes throughout the year to assist community members in combating that added stress.

U.S. Army Garrison Stuttgart Commander Col. Jason Condrey signs a proclamation in support of Child Abuse Awareness Month which is observed through education and awareness campaigns throughout April. Photo by Paul Hughes

The FAP New Parent Support Program can help service members and families, who are expecting a child, or have children up to four years of age, build stronger, healthier family foundations. The program offers support and guidance when creating bonds between parents and their infants and toddlers, while managing the everyday demands of life as a parent. Through this program, parents can learn how to remain flexible and responsive when navigating daily life, respond to infant and toddler behavior sensitively, build a strong support network and find services in the local community in a time of need. All children deserve the opportunity to be raised in safe, nurturing homes free from abuse and neglect. Studies show that children raised in supportive and stable environments are more likely to lead healthy and successful lives, and those children exposed to violence and abuse are more likely to consider that behavior acceptable and continue the cycle of violence. Through these programs and events, the FAP staff hopes to educate the community about the signs of child abuse and how they can help prevent it. For more information on the FAP classes and events, go to the ACS Stuttgart Facebook page or contact ACS at CIV: 09641-70-596-3362 or DSN: (314) 596-3362. ACS is located on the second floor of building 2915 on Panzer Kaserne.

April 2021


Seeking treasure in a year full of gloom By Becca Castellano U.S. Army Garrison Stuttgart

Photo by Merydolla/

Spring break 2021 wasn’t filled with exotic beach getaways or city tours like many families in the Stuttgart Military Community had hoped. But with sunshine and 70 degree temperatures luring them outside, it was the perfect backdrop to kick-off the USO’s Treasure Seekers Scavenger Hunts.


April 2021

“What’s a personal cushion?” Taryn Kurfis asked as she tried to decipher a clue on Robinson Barracks. After thinking for a minute, the seven-year-old was off, on her way to the next location, to find another number on her journey to the finish line. The hunts, which are featured on each of the Stuttgart installations, kicked off Wednesday, March 31, at the USO on Panzer Kaserne, just in time for Spring break. More than 200 participants came out to take on the challenge. One of the volunteers on hand to help was the 12-year-old mastermind behind the big event, Breckyn Redding.

“It’s called Treasure Seekers Scavenger hunt and anyone can participate, you don’t have to be a certain age or be a service member - if you have base access, you’re welcome to try it,” said Redding of the scavenger hunts she has created to help keep the community active and exercising. The USO sponsored hunts were designed by Redding after she moved with her family to Stuttgart last September - just in time for Germany to enter its second lockdown and prevent the Redding children from making new friends. The family instead began hiking to explore their new home. “We had to buy our first pairs of hiking shoes because we were going so much, it was all we could do,” said Redding. “It’s been tough between the move and then the lockdown. I really started to get bored being inside and I didn’t have very many friends I was close enough to, to hang out with yet.” The newcomer was looking for ways to lift people’s spirits and get them exercising outside, all while maintaining covid-19 restrictions.

Breckyn Redding signs a certificate of completion for the USO sponsored Treasure Seekers Scavenger Hunts she created. Photo by Becca Castellano

Taryn Kurfis tries out the USO sponsored Treasure Seeker’s Scavenger Hunt on Robinson Barracks. Photo by Becca Castellano

Breckyn Redding (right) helps participants of the Treasure Seekers Scavenger hunt on Panzer Kaserne with a clue. Photo by Geoffrey Morris

That’s when she remembered a scavenger hunt, she had prepared for her local community back in D.C., and began to visualize what one might look like on-post. “A lot more people participated and enjoyed that one than I expected,” she added. “So, I thought, why not do something like that here; for my new community.” The Treasure Seeker Scavenger Hunts are available on each post and range in difficulty level with Robinson’s having the toughest clues according to Redding. Each clue leads to a location on-post where hunters will have to count something, write down the number that answers the clue and move onto the next one. Once all the numbers have been found, in order, they will reveal GPS coordinates to a semi-hidden sign they must take a selfie with. Redding added that she designed the hunts in a way that will help newcomers learn their way around each post. “We had a lot of trouble trying to figure out where everything was and still struggled sometimes on Kelley but planning these routes helped and I hope they help those who complete them,” she said. In addition to learning the lay of the land, those who complete one hunt will receive a special patch and a certificate for each additional hunt after that. The patch, which features a compass rose, was designed by Redding and the USO, who signed on as sponsors after they heard what the 12-yearold was trying to do. “Breckyn’s Scavenger Hunts fill a need in the community for engagement opportunities during lockdown and travel restrictions,” said Ashley Larsen, the Center Operations Manager at USO Stuttgart. “They align with the USO’s mission of strengthening America’s military service members by keeping them connected to

family, home and country, throughout their service to the nation.” To keep the process COVID-19 friendly, the USO created a QR code that patrons can scan with their phone cameras. Once scanned, a link will appear at the top of the screen that will open an email form. Patrons can complete the form and click submit and then wait for the USO to respond with the requested clues. Clues can also be picked up at the USO. Larsen added that the hunts are designed for all ages but patrons can call the USO for hints if they are struggling with a clue. Once participants have found the finish line and taken a selfie in front of it, they can stop by the USO to get their patch or certificate if they have already earned a patch. As an added bonus, scouts who complete the hunts can earn steps toward badges like the letter boxing badge for girl scouts in 2nd to 4th grade, and the geocaching merit badge for boy scouts. “Breckyn did an amazing job creating this program for our community,” said Larsen. “She should be proud of herself for what she has accomplished during this pandemic. The past year has been tough, there’s no doubt about that, but when we are able to see the good in these times and find opportunities for growth and contribution, there’s no limit to what we can achieve.” The USO team and Redding are hopeful that all their efforts will provide the community with something positive and fun to do during difficult times. “This past year has been really tough for me but I also know that a lot of people have had it way worse,” said Redding. “This was a chance for me to step up and take action to help anyone who needed it and I was all for it once the idea came to me.” Redding, who is also a USO volunteer, was on hand for the kick-off event with special treats made from Girl Scout cookies, which were in hot demand in the community this year. While she hoped the cookies would serve as an incentive to bring people out, the only motivation Redding needed to volunteer her time was the excitement of watching her efforts come full circle. “I really never thought I’d end up doing something like this,” she said. “Or that so many people would support my idea and help to see it through. I’m excited to see how the community likes it and to sew this patch onto my vest and to know that I helped create it and, hopefully, some joy for others at the same time.” April 2021




Escape to the great outdoor gems surrounding Stuttgart



Staatsgalerie The Staatsgalerie’s home is itself a work of art. Its new building, seen here, was tied for fifth in a 2010 survey to find the most important structures completed in the previous 40 years

Schlossgarten An open-air relaxation event takes place in one of the lawns of the Unterer Schlossgarten.

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By Bardia Khajenoori U.S. Army Garrison Stuttgart

Due to the uncertain conditions surrounding COVID-19 and the possibility of changing restrictions, this month’s Culture Corner focuses on parks and other outdoor areas in Stuttgart where the entire family can get outside and enjoy the fresh spring air. MUSEUMS

Stuttgart offers a diverse museum landscape covering everything from cars, art, and local history to dinosaurs, wine, and streetcars to name just a few. Open rain or shine, though typically not on Mondays, they offer unique experiences and welcome respite from unpleasant weather. As of press time, museums in Stuttgart are open by prior appointment, but this may change. For descriptions of more than a dozen museums in the Stuttgart area, visit

your preferred mapping application to find one, if needed. PARKS Wilhelma

The only combination zoo and botanical garden in Germany, Wilhelma has its origins as a royal bathhouse but is now home to nearly 1,200 animal species, making it one of the most diverse zoos worldwide. Should the zoo be closed, certain animals in mostly-outdoor enclosures (such as camels, bison, and alpacas) can be seen from the other side of the fence, at the north edges of Rosenstein Park.

center. The “Unterer Schlossgarten” (nearest to the U-Bahn stops of Stöckach, Metzstrasse, and Mineralbäder) has playgrounds, a mini “mountain biking” area for children, lakes, grilling areas, biergartens, and tree-covered pathways. Max-Eyth-See

Stuttgart’s largest lake was created during the canalization of the Neckar River in 1935, and the rolling hills and wide open green spaces surrounding it are one of the area’s most picturesque leisure spots. Although boats can be rented to go on the water, swimming is not permitted. Weissenburgpark


This 123-acre hillside park hosts, between its numerous grassy lawns, a free-standing observation tower, swimming pool (Freibad), mini train system (the Killesbergbahn), petting zoo, playgrounds, historic fairground area with antique rides, and more.

The Bopser U-Bahn stop provides the easiest transit connection to this park, which is known for its panoramic viewing platform near an open-air cafe and historic “Teehaus.” A picnic would be welladvised, but come early if you hope to find a spot on the lawn ahead of sunset. Karlshöhe


There are numerous playgrounds in and around the city for children of all ages, including in the urban center (for example, on Kronprizstrasse), in parks, in forests, and along the Neckar River. Nearly all Biergartens, when open, will have large playground areas as well. Search “spielplatz” in 12


Württemberg/ Grabkapelle Looking out toward Untertürkheim and the city center from the Württemberg Mausoleum over the vineyards of Rotenberg, Stuttgart.

April 2021


Officially divided into three parts, this 600-yearold park area stretches from Schlossplatz to Bad Cannstatt, where it meets Rosenstein Park and continues the “Green U” — a corridor of about five miles of interconnected parks in the city

This park, on a ridge in the west of the city, offers a fantastic vantage point as well as a popular biergarten. Nearby is the Städtisches Lapidarium. Städtisches Lapidarium

A cross between a park and an open-air museum,

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Killesberg seen from top of Killesbergturm

Seilbahn A historic, nearly century-old cable car links Südheimer Platz to the forest cemetery and a hilltop with a number of urban hiking routes. Kids, especially, might enjoy the unique ride.

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Playground near Karlshöhe

Chinese garden Despite its relatively central location, the tranquility of the Chinese Garden can take you out of the city bustle for at least a few minutes.

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Wilhelma With unique architecture and manicured gardens, animals aren’t the only attraction at Wilhelma.

6 the Lapidarium hosts a collection of numerous stone works (including sculptures and architecture) in a garden environment. While potentially a bit boring for younger children, it’s an urban oasis of peace and relaxation. Free to enter, but open only on Wednesdays, Saturdays, and Sundays in the “warm season” — double check opening hours before going. Its location at the foot of Karlshöhe makes it worth a visit if nearby.

9 of plants. Less than five minutes’ drive from Kelley Barracks, or about a half hour’s walk. Bärenschlössle/Rotwildpark

Less a “park” than a protected forest and nature reserve, this expanse near Patch Barracks has numerous trails to discover, three lakes to walk along, and a “bear castle” to offer a rest with a view.

HIKING Grabkapelle

Chinese Garden

While small and best included as part of an itinerary that includes other stops in the city center, the free Chinese Garden is a unique and tranquil retreat about 15 minutes’ walk from the main station. Birkenkopf

Also known to locals as Monte Scherbelino, “rubble hill” is the tallest point in Stuttgart and owes part of its height to over 130 feet of debris cleared from the bombed-out city after World War II. At the top, a considerable amount is left exposed; a stunning view meets a somber reminder. Hohenheim Gardens & State Arboretum

The University of Hohenheim, founded on a basis of agricultural and natural science research, maintains 74-acres of parks and gardens — including giant trees and more than 8,000 different species

purchased in advance for morning or afternoon timeslots, with no in-person ticket sales available. Some payment systems allow credit cards while others require a German IBAN, or bank account identification number. Both on-post financial institutions provide IBANs to their account holders. If you are unsure of yours, get in touch with them for assistance.

Visible from miles away at the top of Württemberg hill and nestled amongst a sea of vineyards, this mausoleum houses the tombs of the area’s longest serving and most influential king, Wilhelm I of Württemberg, and Grand Duchess Katharina Pawlowna. The immediate area has excellent hiking opportunities and panoramic vistas. OUTDOOR POOLS

The city of Stuttgart operates five open-air swimming pools which attract families with a variety of bathing options and wide swathes of green space. Numerous others are run by other towns and cities in the area. As of press time, it’s unknown when they will open (traditionally, the season begins in late April or early May) or under what conditions. In summer 2020, Stuttgart’s freibäder and others used pre-registration systems by which tickets were

The topography of the Stuttgart area lends itself to fantastic hiking opportunities for every level of interest and difficulty. While a search of the web will lead to hundreds of potential routes, one particularly well-known hiking trail in the city center is the Blaustrümpflerweg. This route of under-five [walking] miles, spanning both forest and city streets, can be completed in under three hours at a brisk pace and provides a unique way to explore part of the southern and western parts of the city. It also involves the use of Stuttgart’s two unique public transit offerings — the historic wooden cable car (Seilbahn) between Südheimer Platz and the Waldfriedhof (Forest Cemetery), and the rack railway, or “Zacke,” which offers stunning views of the city between the Pfaffenweg and Wielandshöhe stops as it connects Degerloch with Marienplatz on a steep incline. Children may find these especially exciting. A regular public transit ticket allows use of these services as well as all other regular services. April 2021


Get a taste of Europe during the Spring Bazaar By U.S. Army Garrison Stuttgart

After a disappointing cancellation in 2020, the 2021 Spring Bazaar is back with a new location and an extra day of shopping. From May 6-9, more than 70 vendors will set up shop at the Panzer Fitness Center and in a large fest tent on the Panzer Parade Field in front of the garrison headquarters building. This year’s shopping extravaganza, which will be open Thursday, Friday, and Saturday from 10 a.m. until 7 p.m. and Sunday from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. is being hosted by Harriet R. Tubman OES and the Stuttgart Family & MWR. “For those who didn’t get a chance to experience Europe and bring home something special, this is the best opportunity to make up for that,” said Joel Wasko, a marketing specialist with Stuttgart Family & MWR. “In one location, you’ll be able to “travel” to Italy, Belgium, France, Norway, and more by speaking to the vendors and literally getting a taste of what that country has to offer.” Antiques, home décor, jewelry, artwork, cheese, wine, pottery, and much more will be available throughout Mother’s Day Weekend, making it the perfect place to find that special gift for mom, added Wasko. The proceeds from previous bazaars have gone toward helping pay childcare bills for lower enlisted families, sending care packages to deployed service members and providing support to high school sports teams and community scouting clubs. Scholarships for community members and donations to local organizations have also been funded by the monies raised during the event. The hosts’ of this year’s bazaar will take special COVID-19 precautions such as providing hand sanitizing stations, requiring masks to be worn always and regular disinfecting of high-trafficked areas. And because of course, every day is COVID until it is not: the dates and times of the Spring Bazaar are subject to possible changes or cancellation. For the most up-to-date Spring Bazaar information, visit or Facebook. com/familyandmwr.

One example of goods sold at the Spring Bazaar in 2019 were nesting dolls. Photo courtesy of event organizers.


April 2021

Ambassadors pave path to success for new students By Becca Castellano U.S. Army Garrison Stuttgart

Starting over every few years in a new location is often just part of the package for a military child. Saying goodbye to friends, clubs and teams that become family doesn’t get easier, but it helps if the destination you are headed to welcomes you with open arms, or in COVID-19 times, a friendly smile behind a mask.

Patch Middle School Ambassadors are 7th and 8th grade students who work hard to create an inclusive environment for newcomers to their school. Layla Ali serves as a 7th grade ambassador to incoming 6th graders. She uses her own experiences as a new student to make sure they always have someone they can turn to. “When you come here, it can feel really lonely, so I wanted to be someone they can go to, not just because I showed them around, but because I’m someone they can talk to whenever they feel lost or alone,” Ali said. The middle school ambassadors are one piece of a larger youth sponsorship program, organized by the DOD’s Child and Youth Services that provides support to PCSing dependent children around the world. Brian Pappas, the Stuttgart High School Liaison Officer said the programs are adult facilitated, but entirely youth led. “It not only encompasses relocation support and school transition assistance, but it also anticipates the physical, social, emotional and intellectual changes youth experience,” he added. The program offers sponsoring and ambassador opportunities at the middle and high school levels and facilitates pre-arrival, arrival and pre-departure support for youth. Patch Middle School 6th grade counselor, Tikeira Roundtree, serves as the coordinator for the Student Ambassadors program at her school. This year is her first at the helm, but she has already made some significant changes to the program. Traditionally, student ambassadors serve as an escort to a new student on their first day, but the relationship has often ended there. Roundtree has created teams of ambassadors who work together during the

course of a week to get to know each new classmate and connect them with others who have similar interests. “When you arrive, you meet two people right off the bat that know each other and can introduce you to more people because the web is wider now,” she said. “The ambassadors have a checklist of things they need to help the newcomer with and they have to meet and work together to devise a plan to support the new student.” Ali said the program has done more than just welcome new students; it has expanded her friend group by introducing her to others she might have never shared interests with. That, combined with a desire to help others struggling to adjust, motivated the 7th grader to

Sixth grade counselor, Tikeira Roundtree, leads the Patch Middle School Youth Ambassadors. Photo by Becca Castellano

become an ambassador. “When I first got here, I had just moved from where I lived my whole life. I was overseas for the first time and I felt kind of alone,” said Ali. “So, if I can share that with some kid who has never been overseas before, I can help them adjust because I know what they’re going through.” Ali was one of several students selected to present Patch Middle School to new students. Another is 8th grader Maria Stalder, who takes her role as an ambassador very seriously.

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(Left to right) Layla Ali, La’Nyah Taylor and Maria Stalder sponsor new students as Patch Middle School Ambassadors. Photo by Becca Castellano

“After the school day, the first thing I do is send an email to anyone I think seems sad or alone,” said Stalder. “If they want to talk, I will prioritize them over almost anything else I have to do since they are new, and it can be harder to adapt to math curriculum or class work, so I always try to focus some time on them, to check in.” Counselor Roundtree asks a lot of her ambassadors, but she believes they are thriving in their new responsibilities. “I am here to help them succeed, but I expect them to take the initiative and work together to create plans and get to know the new students,” she said. “When you tell a child, ‘Hey, I need you to do this for me’ they want to step up and do a good job and that’s exactly what these students are doing.” At the end of the school year, Roundtree’s team of ambassadors will get another leadership challenge as they solicit applications, conduct interviews, and train their replacements. “Overall, I would like to see the students creating lifelong relationships and a general atmosphere of ease at the school,” Roundtree added. “And ultimately they will decide who can do that best because they know what it takes first-hand to be a good ambassador for Patch Middle School.” Students interested in becoming sponsors through DoDEA can apply to the Ambassador Program at Patch Middle School or the Student2Student Ambassador Program at Stuttgart High School. Students can also become CYS sponsors by contacting the Patch Youth Center or School Liaison Office.


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There is no place like an on-post home By Paul Hughes U.S. Army Garrison Stuttgart

Throughout her time as a service member, and now with her husband’s Army career, Elisa Vertuli is a veteran of more than 10 Army moves. Now, for the second time, her family is living on post in the U.S. Army Garrison Stuttgart community.

Vertuli said they always prefer living on post for its simplicity and ease. Kelley Barracks, where Vertuli’s husband works, is home to U.S. Africa Command and has been a U.S. installation since 1945. Previously called Helenen Kaserne, it was renamed in 1949 in honor of SSgt. Jonah E. Kelley of the 78th Infantry Division. Kelley was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions during the second Battle of Kesternich, Germany in 1945. Vertuli, her active-duty Army spouse, two high school children and their dog, have called Kelley Barracks home since last July. The family lives in a stairwell apartment that Vertuli describes as “large, bright and cozy.” “I work hard to make my military houses feel like home,” Vertuli said, adding that the additional use of curtains, rugs and plants has helped the household feel settled. “It’s much quieter here than Patch Barracks,” said Elisa, who lived there during a previous assignment. “But, they both have their pluses; life on post is just simpler, it’s already taken care of for you, you don’t have to worry about all the bills, the landlords, it’s a 16

April 2021

little less stressful, especially if it’s your first time mov- works with. It has been hard this year with COVID.” ing to a different country.” COVID has affected normal life, both on and off Kelley Barracks is the only USAG Stuttgart location post. While living on post added an additional layer of that does not have a school, but it benefits from a the- safety from COVID, because of its gated communities ater, gym, gas station, hotel, commissary and sub shop. and on post amenities, the excitement of venturing While Vertuli acknowledges there are pros to living on beyond the wire to enjoy off post highlights like festiPatch with its library, food court and movie theater vals, concerts and events — all easily accessible from or Panzer with the shopping mall and schools, the Kelley — were also cancelled. Some facilities on post advantages of living where her husband were also closed including places like works sold her. “Culturally, it the Kelley club and theater. But Vertuli “It’s nice that my husband can remains hopeful. might be more come home for lunch and we can eat “I expect when COVID is over that together and talk. He can just walk to enriching to we’ll get back to that more,” said work and back, that is so convenient.” live off post, but Vertuli. “Like when we lived on Patch, Vertuli said. there was always something going on, Vertuli’s children both attend living on post events and picnics.” Stuttgart High School on Panzer doesn’t have Vertuli said that by living on post, Kaserne. Living on post has benefitted you end up on the best side of the pros to exclude that them not just because they have their and cons; it enables you to benefit from own spacious rooms, but outside of the culture…” the little conveniences of local U.S. style home by having so many activities at facilities, but you can also satisfy any their doorstep. craving for culture that off post living offers. “When we lived on Patch, my son was in a lot of “There’s a commissary here and the gas station. sports; cross-country, wrestling and in the evening if it We’re just 100 meters from the store, if I forget somewas nice out, there were people on the patio grilling, thing I can run over there and grab it.” Vertuli said. there were lots of people to talk too,” Vertuli said. “Culturally, it might be more enriching to live off post, COVID, has made life on post more trying with a but living on post doesn’t have to exclude that culture. lack of parties on the patio and less socializing, with Even if you live on base, you can appreciate it. You can on-post facilities closing. “Usually, it’s easy to get to know the neighbors, which is one reason why we live on base. I see my neighbors, and walk outside a little and maybe meet a neighbor at the dog park, but otherwise I haven’t gotten to know too many because there have been no cook outs,” said Vertuli. “I haven’t met many people from my husband’s unit. I don’t know anyone he



The Vertuli household living room. The Vertulis; Mark, Evan, Lauren and dog Vandy, live in a 1st floor apartment on Ashstrasse, Kelley Barracks, USAG Stuttgart, Germany.


Elisa Vertuli works on her computer in the family living area. Much of the furniture was purchased at the annual garrison Spring Bazaar and travels with the family when they move from post to post.

3 3 still go to German stores, enjoy the restaurants and the parks and trails. That’s why we enjoy living on bases, because we can still take advantage of most of the things that people find attractive.”

Elisa Vertuli shows us the room of her high school son Evan Vertuli, at their home on Ashstrasse, Kelley Barracks, USAG Stuttgart, Germany


Elisa Vertuli and her dog Vandy at home on Ashstrasse, Kelley Barracks, USAG Stuttgart, Germany.

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April 2021


Service Spotlight: SHS Seniors continue family legacy of military service By Geoffrey Morris Citizen Volunteer

Throughout April, the sacrifices of military children are recognized and celebrated as a part of the Month of the Military Child. The “Military Brats” of Stuttgart High School wear their nickname with pride. Some of them so much so, that they intend to follow in the path of military service after graduation. Over a dozen SHS Seniors have committed to joining the military through several different paths that include service academies, active-duty and reserve enlistments and reserve officer training corps (ROTC) programs across the country. Two of those promising future SHS alumni began their path to service long before graduation.

Jack Engelke “Desire, dedication, and discipline... not a lot of students take that to heart, but Jack’s got it,” said SHS Junior ROTC instructor Retired Lt. Col. Norm Matzke, when asked about his student, Jack Engelke. The SHS senior has spent his life moving from duty station to duty station, and often country to country. Although many may consider the lifestyle of a military brat a hardship, the experiences he has gained have inspired Engelke to choose a path of military service after graduation. And his father’s Air Force career made his choice to attend the Air Force academy in the fall an obviStuttgart High School Senior Jack Engelke will pursue an engi- ous one. neering degree at the Air Force Academy in the fall. “My dad went to Photo courtesy of the Engelke family the Air Force Academy and would tell me about his time there,” Engelke explained. “It sort of became the family college.” While the choice to serve was an easy one for Jack, the selection process to attend the esteemed Air Force Academy was not. The service academy is the most selective college or university in the state of Colorado, only admitting about 11 percent of those who apply. Out of 10,354 applicants last year, only 1,147 students were accepted according to Now that he has established himself as worthy to attend, Engelke’s next goal is to “fly out of the Academy” and one day be an Air Force pilot. Though his ambitions are skybound, he’s planted his feet firmly on the ground and marching toward an engineering degree. His Robotics teacher, Herbert Silio, said his fascination for technology helped Engelke meet the standards for admission. “He’s really got a talent for programming and automation, and building too,” said Silio. In addition to requiring extremely high GPAs and test scores, the academy grades applicants on their character through their participation in school and community events. Engelke passed that portion of the application process easily with more than 100 hours of volunteer service and abundant participation in school programs, clubs and sports. But Engelke did not volunteer his time to gain admission anywhere. He says he did it “because it was the right thing to do.” Matzke, who was also the senior’s teacher and wrestling coach, said the future military officer has a promising career in front of him. “He is already a leader among his peers,” said Matzke. “He’s not destined, he’s determined.” 18

April 2021

Kenneth Roedl As the student body president, a peer mentor, a JROTC candidate and a European PTA Student Representative, Kenneth Roedl has been hard at work preparing his resume for his future goals, which include civic service and, ultimately, an ambassadorship. Roedl’s AP Research Instructor, Danile Coapstick, said his student will make positive waves wherever he goes in life. “He’s such a driven guy,” he said. “A game changer who sees a rule and asks why it’s there.” Roedl is already challenging the status quo through his Junior Science Humanities Symposium project this year. He studied the Depictions of Race on Reality TV and Streaming shows after he noticed a lack of diversity and representation while binge watching TV with his mom. “Growing up, I never felt truly represented on television,” Roedl said, “there was no one that looked or acted like me.” His project, which developed a scale to measure diversity across shows like the Amazing Race, Survivor and Big Brother, revealed Stuttgart High School Senior Kenneth Roedl some eye-opening statistics. Using will join the Air Force ROTC program when he a method now dubbed the Roedl attends college in the fall. Test, he applied three questions to Photo courtesy of the Roedl family each show: Are there at least two characters of color, do they have a storyline and are they alive and or present at the finale? Roedl found an “unspoken rule among reality shows” that showed there were never more than 25 percent of the contestants who were people of color. Across every season of Amazing Race, Big Brother and Survivor, the only time this pattern was broken was during two seasons of Survivor, which were specifically designed to be ethnically diverse. Roedl’s work earned him a 2nd place finish, an invite to the national competition and a $1,500 scholarship. But the cherry on top for Roedl was the chance to interview television producer Hanelle M. Culpepper, director of Picard. “I really wanted to gain some insight on the lack of representation,” he said. “The big takeaway was that Hollywood needs to take more risk with new faces. By using the same actors for every show or movie, it reinforces the lack of diversity instead of taking initiative to build resumes for actors of color.” Vanderbilt took notice of Roedl’s work and offered him a full-ride scholarship, with a research grant of $6,000, split between either political science or international affairs. But the prestigious Nashville school isn’t the only one with their sights set on the SHS senior - Columbia University, University of California Berkeley, and Washington University in St. Louis also offered Roedl admission. Regardless of which prestigious school he attends, Roedl intends to continue in the legacy of military service his family has built. “Most of the men on my dad’s side of the family served in a branch of the military, so it just feels like something I could do to give back to the country,” he said of his plans to join the Air Force ROTC program wherever he goes. After SHS’s graduations in June, 13 new alumni will head off to learn and develop their own leadership styles in hopes of one day replacing the title “military brat” with rank. But as they prepare to say goodbye to yet another home, both Roedl and Engelke said they will lean on their experiences as military youth to face whatever obstacles stand in their way to the top. “Experiences that would’ve been impossible without the military brat lifestyle,” said Roedl. “Being able to see different ways of life, having the opportunity to live and to learn across the world… it’s simply unparalleled.”

The Big Question: Kids, if you were in charge at home, what is the first rule you would make? “No yelling.” Ethan, 6 years old

“To be able to eat in my room.”

“I would get 4 pieces of candy for dessert every day. And all I could eat Twizzlers.”

Jacob, 8 years old

Alexis, 8 years old

“Everyone would have to eat a lot of protein to sustain their growth on top or working out at least one time a day.” Joseph, 8 years old

“Do or do not, there is no try.”

“You have to always train to be a Jedi.”

Soren, 10 years old

William, 7 years old

“Never eat green beans again.” Edward, 5 years old

“No screaming, and everyone gets 10 minutes of quiet time.” Zoe, 12 years old with three younger brothers

“Family time for 1 hour every single day.”

“No no’s allowed.”

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Giuliana, 9 years old

“We all have to eat waffles and pizza!” Deacon, 4 years old

“We can jump on the bed and eat our dessert first.” Levi, 5 years old

“Rule #1 as much Minecraft time as I want.” Andrew, 3rd grader

“Mom and dad have to do all the chores.”

“UNLIMITED TV time always.” Christina, 10 years old

“My brother would have to clean everything.” Jenni, 15 years old

“No homework until my video games are done.” Tyson, 11 years old

Taryn, 7 years old April 2021


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