FORT BENNING, Ga. (May 11, 2018) - Soldiers from the 1st Battalion, 46th Infantry Regiment, at Fort Benning, Georgia, provided students with some summer tips in a "Girls in Pearls, Guys in Ties" forum May 9 at Midland Middle School in Columbus, Georgia.

The event was a part of Fort Benning's Partners in Education Program, which promotes continued partnerships between military units and schools within school districts of Columbus, Phenix City, Alabama, and the surrounding communities.

Kate Harrell, the school's guidance counselor, began the "Girls in Pearls, Guys in Ties" Program last year after seeing a need for leadership intervention amongst the students. The forums, which occurred every other month for the 2017-2018 school year, focused on various topics and were led by members from 1-46th Inf. Reg.

During this visit, the Soldiers focused on helping the students with their summer decision-making skills, while encouraging them to set goals for the next school year. The students were split up into two groups, male and female.

Capt. Shaun Swayne, the company commander for D Company, 1-46th Inf. Reg., and four of the company's drill sergeants, led the male group. They talked with the students about goals they had for the summer and steps they could take to obtain them.

One student said he wanted to do better in liberal arts but hated to read. He relayed to the Soldiers that he would be doing a lot of road trips during the summer, and Swayne encouraged the student to spend that time on the road reading a different book each trip.

"Setting goals is the foundation for everything the students will do in life," said Swayne. "We encourage them to set small goals first because combined together, those smaller goals will help them achieve their overall, bigger goal."

Swayne added the drill sergeants bring a special skill to the forum.

"Our drill sergeants have the knowledge and ability to relate to these students because they are used to training younger people from different countries, backgrounds and with different personalities," Swayne said.

Master Sgt. Rebecca Barnes, the 1-46 Inf. Reg. operations noncommissioned officer, led the group of female students and encouraged the group of young women to set goals to help out more in their local neighborhoods.

She also highlighted the importance of adjusting to change and transitioning into new grades, specifically for the eighth-graders who will start high school next year.

Barnes said this is her second time participating in the forum, and she said she is happy to be a part of something positive within the community.

Barnes, a mother of three, said sometimes younger children need adults to talk to other than their parents.

"The PIE Program gives the students a chance to meet new people," Barnes said. "It's an outstanding initiative."

To see photos from this event, visit "PHOTO ALBUM" in the "Related Links" section on this page.