MAYPORT, Fla. (NNS) -- Sailors assigned to U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command/U.S. 4th Fleet (USNAVSO/FOURTHFLT) spoke to students on a variety of career options available within the U.S. Navy at a local Jacksonville middle school, Feb. 28.
The two-hour event at Fort Caroline Middle School of the Visual and Performing Arts was tailored toward informing students about the eclectic and exciting career opportunities afforded by service in the U.S. Navy. Logistics Specialist 1st Class Michael Mason served as the Navy liaison and worked with the school guidance counselor, Ashley Lawrence, M.Ed., to provide Sailors an opportunity to interact with middle school students by sharing their knowledge, insight, and experiences in the Navy, as well as answering any questions the students asked. The students learned about 10 different Navy career fields and a variety of topics related to what life is like as a Sailor in the U.S. Navy.
“The military is often overlooked and underutilized as a viable postsecondary avenue, despite the transformative opportunities available,” said Lawrence. “We’re thankful for community stakeholders for empowering our students at Fort Caroline Middle School to activate their leadership and citizenship. Our students value these partnerships as it inspires them to set and achieve high goals for postsecondary success.”
Everyone who participated in the event was overwhelmingly positive and eager to share their Navy experience.
“Being able to spend time talking with the Fort Caroline Middle School students was such a good experience,” said Yeoman 1st Class Rey-Joshua Parinasan, a native of Detroit. “You could tell by their enthusiasm and the questions they asked that they were truly interested in what we had to say and were fully engaged throughout the event.”
Students from all middle school grades participated in the event. Each class watched a U.S. Navy video and caught a brief glimpse into a day in the life of a U.S. Navy Sailor. Following the video, the participating Sailors introduced themselves and then allowed the students to ask questions.
Hands popped up throughout the crowd in all three classes. Students asked questions ranging anywhere from “What do the badges on your uniform mean?” “What is it like being out to sea?” to “How much do you get paid?” At the end of each class, the first student who could remember the U.S. Navy’s birthday received a military coin.
“Every child deserves equitable access to educational opportunities that cultivate and advance their postsecondary awareness and readiness,” said Lawrence. “One of the most instrumental ways to prepare students for postsecondary success is to engage community stakeholders, which leverages resources, knowledge and tools to inspire students to set future postsecondary goals. A systemic shift in postsecondary readiness for Generation Z must encompass all postsecondary pathways: college, career, military and trade school.”
USNAVSO/FOURTHFLT supports USSOUTHCOM joint and combined military operations by employing maritime forces in cooperative maritime security operations in order to maintain access, enhance interoperability, and build enduring partnerships that foster regional security and promote peace, stability, and prosperity in the Caribbean, Central and South American regions.
For more news from U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command & U.S. 4th Fleet, visit www.navy.mil/local/cusns/.