Northside Jacksonville High School signs partnership with Marine Corps

Published: Sep. 21, 2023 at 7:51 PM EDT
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JACKSONVILLE, N.C. (WITN) - Marine Aircraft Group 26 (MAG-26) has adopted Northside Jacksonville High School as a way for Marines and students to be there for each other. The program is called Adopt-a-School by Onslow County Schools.

Northside signed the Proclamation of Adoption Partnership on Thursday during a ceremony.

Once the document is signed, sealed, and delivered the bond between the school and Marine Corps will not break. Northside principal Brad Staley says it is not about the school, but the students.

“To see that really probably is the most valuable thing,” said Principal Staley. “It’s not just to have volunteers for an event but to have someone for our students to look up to. I think about the students, and I think about these positive role models. These successful members of our military community that will now come influence our students positively.”

With the Marines, it appears they want to help not just themselves, but the community too. The Commanding Officer with MAG-26 says that is why the Marines are so excited to join a partnership like Adopt-a-School.

“Marines have an appetite to give back to the community and this is an opportunity for them to do that,” said Col. Derrick.

However, it was not just Col. Derrick who brought the partnership to Staley’s attention. Col. Derrick says it was a fellow Marine who handled all the behind-the-scenes. They both thought this would be beneficial to the school since they both have students in high school.

“Both of us have high school students,” said Col. Derrick. “He thought this would be a great opportunity to give back to the community, especially with a school that didn’t have a sponsor.”

What Northside and MAG-26 see is more than just a document, but a partnership that will help mentor and guide students.

“We think it is very important for the students to have an opportunity to look up and have some mentors outside of maybe some circles they already have,” said Col. Derrick.

The partnership means a lot to the school, but it also shows a responsibility to make connections throughout the Onslow County community.

“We are one Jacksonville Onslow community, it’s not the Marine Corps over here, and the schools over here. And when you bring partnerships like this together we become stronger, our kids become stronger, and our community becomes stronger.”

Clyde Erwin Elementary was the most recent school to get adopted in March 2023. White Oak High School and Northwood Elementary are two other schools that are part of the partnership.

The Adopt-a-School program has a total of 27 schools that have been adopted by units in the military. Officials say liaisons at the school continue to work to match schools with adopting units.

The partnership between Northside and MAG-26 is indefinite.