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Military members help prepare Norfolk classrooms ahead of the first day of school

About 30 service members from Naval Station Norfolk supported teachers from four different schools Thursday.

NORFOLK, Va. — Weeks leading up to the first day of school bring much anticipation for teachers. 

“You always look forward at the end of the summer to a new school year," said Rae Leslie, a first grade teacher at Ingleside Elementary School

"Everything’s fresh, everything’s new. You’re going to have new kids.”

Leslie said a lot of work goes into getting the classrooms together.

“Rearranging the classroom, making sure all the materials are here, all the computers, desks…It’s exhausting," she said. 

"You definitely get your workout.”

It can be a weeks-long process, but service members from Naval Station Norfolk wanted to help cut that time in half.

“Being a parent, I know the type of struggles that teachers go through to get ready for the school year," said Shafeeal Grandison, a service member with Naval Station Norfolk.

 "I thought it’d be great to come out and assist in any way that I could.”

Ingleside Elementary is one of four schools that received help from 30 Naval Station Norfolk servicemembers Thursday. 

Military members were also helping teachers and staff at Sewell's Point Elementary, Tanners Creek Elementary and Madison Alternative Center in Norfolk. 

“They’ll help get the rooms set up," said Michael James, the assistant principal at the elementary school. 

"Today, they’ll be packing bags for our teachers that we’ll give to them when they report back.”.

Leslie said the extra helping hands set the tone for the new school year set to start September 6.

“It saves us time so we can focus more on curriculum,” Leslie said. "Makes it easier to hit the ground running." 

Leaders with Norfolk Public Schools are always looking for volunteers throughout the school year. You can learn more on how to help on the division's website.

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