FORT BENNING, Ga. (Aug. 22, 2018) -- Soldiers from the Airborne and Ranger Training Brigade at Fort Benning, Georgia, helped students in the Chattahoochee County High School Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps program learn the importance of teamwork and problem-solving skills during the students' visit to the Leadership Develop Course on post Aug. 21.

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 community.

Student teams were given three minutes to maneuver their way through obstacles, which tested their abilities to work together while using critical thinking skills to execute a task.

Staff Sgt. Micheal Spooner, an ARTB instructor, served as one of the cadre members who helped assist the students with navigating through the obstacles. Spooner said he quickly noticed the growth with some of the students right away.

"Within the groups, it's easy to identify the students who have leadership attributes already and those are the ones who are definitely harder charging at solving the problem, and then you have the other group that is kind of standing back and watching everyone do what they need to do," said Spooner. "I've seen a change, and I would expect as we go through the remaining obstacles that they will get better and better with each obstacle."

Spooner volunteered to support the event. He also volunteers as a youth football league coach in his community.

"I like working with kids," Spooner said. "Mentorship is one of the things I believe has been one of the most rewarding aspects of being in the Army and getting in a position where you can influence that next generation. I definitely feel like that is important."

He added that more than anything else, he hopes the students leave the event with the willpower to never quit in life, no matter what they may face.

"I see that a lot with younger kids," Spooner said. "When stuff gets tough, instead of looking for solutions to the problem, they just don't deal with it. I hope they leave here with the ability to identify a complex problem and then apply the problem-solving method rather than getting frustrated, giving up and not completing the task."