Marine ‘buddy’ gets memorable send-off

For four years, Carlos Marcelino was a fixture in Patty Detter’s first-grade classroom at Eshleman Elementary school.

While attending Penn Manor High School, he participated in a “buddies” program that pairs English language learners with Detter’s first-graders. The older students serve as mentors to their younger peers, who help them practice their English language skills in a nonthreatening environment.

The Domincan Republic native graduated in 2013, but on Wednesday, Carlos made one last visit to Eshleman before he begins a new adventure serving as a U.S. Marine in Japan.

Detter’s students surprised him with patriotic balloons, cupcakes and cards with well-wishes. They also shared some interesting facts about Japan that they had learned earlier in the day. Carlos played games with the children and talked to them about what it’s like to be a Marine.

Carlos leaves Sunday to begin a two-year assignment in Japan. Although he’ll be halfway around the world, he promised to keep in touch with his first-grade buddies via Skype.