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PV Elementary students skype with soldiers in Afghanistan

Published December 14. 2009 05:00PM

Lori Hahn, computer teacher at Panther Valley Elementary School, said it was fascinating skyping with soldiers in Afghanistan recently.

She said they connected with Chief Ron Webb of the U.S. Navy and Chris Mansfield who is the GS-15 for that location. He is a civilian who helps the Navy and is equal to a LT Colonel for the military.

At 2 p.m. on Friday the students connected with the soldiers. It was around 11:15 p.m. Afghanistan time. The video conference, through skype, went on for about 40 minutes.

Chief Webb talked to the PV people about his job in the Navy, which is titled Information Technology Chief. His job deals with communications, networking and systems gear at his location. He showed the students the outside of his work area that is called a connex box. He then took them through the outside of the work area to show them the tent that protects them from snow, sand or any other debris. He showed them several monitors that were huge screens that gave them information about home, maps of where our soldiers are located and even made a live video IP call to another connex box to show the students how they communicate with each other safely.

The students asked many questions about what the weather was like, what they eat and where they slept. Also, they inquired about what they have to do to become part of the Navy someday.

This experience was amazing with the vivid connection from a soldier showing them around his station in Afghanistan to the Elementary School gymnasium in Nesquehoning.

Chief Webb is a Blue Mountain graduate and is from Cressona. He will be returning home sometime at the end of January. It was something the students will never forget.

The connection was made possible through Lori's husband, Lucas Hahn, who is also a graduate of Blue Mountain High School. Dan Kucherich, PV's technology man, helped make a local network connection from the gym (PV's mobile unit) and Lori downloaded skype and attached a web cam and microphone to hear, see and speak to the soldiers through skype.

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