Courtesy story by Cadet Capt. Shaniya Lanier, Bob Jones High School Air Force JROTCCommand Sgt. Maj. Sean Rice, the senior enlisted Soldier from Security Assistance Command, visited the Air Force JROTC cadets at Bob Jones High – a visit unlike any they had ever experienced.As in past guest speakers, there was the expectation of some kind of “wow” factor about Rice that the cadets could focus on. To prepare for their guest, the JROTC instructors, Maj. Melissa Lacey and Chief Master Sgt. Ellis Clark, distributed his biography so cadets could read about his career and form questions to ask.Even with pandemic safety protocols, the cadets of Eagle and Lightning squadron were excited to get the chance to hear from someone as impressive as Rice. They did not know he was about to exceed their expectations.Reading his bio, he has an extensive list of accomplishments and travels to many exotic regions across the globe. When a guest speaker has enough accomplishments to make their own movie about their life, people tend to assume the speaker was always a high performer, or perhaps the speaker had gone on an impressive journey from mediocrity to astonishing.Rice, however, told the students how completely wrong that assumption was.“I needed to get off the streets and I wanted to live past 21, so I joined the Army,” he said.Rice, a military child, moved quite a few times and one day found himself in the JROTC program in Colorado as an Air Force cadet. Later his family moved to Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, where he felt a better connection with their Army JROTC program.From there his life gave him multiple experiences that would lead him to make the decision to move beyond the limits of the city he lived in, and join the military.While his story was surprising itself, he really surprised the cadets when he said that early on he was a “chucklehead.” As Rice explained it, a chucklehead is someone who is good at everything but lacks focus.Rice said he was a marksman and displayed precision in drill formations, but could not stay out of trouble, or wipe the smirk off his face when the time came to be serious.For the cadets of Bob Jones High, he was the last person you would have expected to be a “chucklehead” who needed a rude awakening to get his act together.Rice’s awakening happened when he went before the prestigious Sgt. Audie Murphy Board, believing he had studied enough, and it would be smooth sailing. But unfortunately he lost his composure during the interview, which left him upset and unwilling to try again for several more years.He eventually went back. Having learned a valuable lesson from that experience, he helped another Soldier who was in the same position learn what to do when they faced the pressure and stress surrounding a military board.“I should’ve done a little bit more studying, and definitely learned the invaluable lesson of humility,” Rice said.Cadet Airman Laiken Justice, a freshman from Lightning squadron, shared her appreciation of his candor.“When he talked about how he didn’t really care when starting in the military, and only did things when he had to do them, that was kind of eye-opening to me,” she said. “But then he told us he realized he was capable of so much more, which really inspired me to want to do more myself.”When one of the cadets asked Rice why he joined the military, many of the cadets expected the generic “I wanted to serve my country,” or “I followed my parents who inspired me to become bigger than myself.”While these are good reasons to join the military, none of the cadets were prepared to hear that it was Rice’s only option if he wanted to live a full life.Hearing Rice speak about his career and evolution as a Soldier was an eye-opening experience that left the cadets inspired. Rice passed along some life tips which will benefit them for years to come. It is not often that a guest speaker shares half as much as Rice did about himself beyond the man described on paper.His visit impacted everyone in the room, including the instructors. Before the visit ended, Clark took a moment to present a coin to Rice for his words of inspiration. In turn Rice pulled out his new unit coin, and with a big smile, returned the gesture to Clark, marking his first coining since he arrived at Redstone in July.A visit that started as a simple speech from a senior enlisted Soldier, with an impressive resume, turned into an inspiring experience for all. The Blue Knights of Bob Jones High will aspire to become more than “chuckleheads” on whatever path they take in life.