Fort Bragg leaders hosted a group of high school principals from the surrounding Fayetteville community as well as education officials from the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction to learn more about the opportunities the U.S. Army offers students that would suit young adults graduating high school during an event called “Army STEM day”, Oct. 20, 2022.
‘STEM’ stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. The event was put together for the principals and education officials to get a better understanding of what the U.S. Army has to offer kids with these specific skills and interests in mind.
Mr. Tabari Wallace, special advisor to the North Carolina Superintendent of Public Instruction, said this event really gave him insight about the various opportunities the Army can offer young students as they venture out to the workforce.
“We are definitely getting to experience the STEM-based initiatives and activities that take place here on Fort Bragg,” he said.
This event was important because it provides information for principals to educate each and every child under their purview about the benefits of the Army.
“STEM Day allowed these educational leaders to see some of the unique opportunities and capabilities of the U.S. Army, and how the Army could benefit future careers of high school students in North Carolina,” said Lt. Col. Mark Newdigate, commander of the Raleigh Recruiting Battalion.
A topic of discussion throughout the event was the importance and value of the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery, simply known as the ASVAB.
According to Wallace, only one-third of North Carolina students pass the ASVAB on the first try. The U.S. Army Recruiting Command and North Carolina education officials want that percentage to improve.
The ASVAB is a timed, multi-aptitude test, taken by individuals seeking a potential military career. However, Newdigate feels that the test benefits all students and serves as a good benchmark to help students prepare for other standardized testing required for graduation and in preparation for college.
According to Newdigate, the state of North Carolina conducted testing of the ASVAB to over 8,000 high school students in 2021. Newdigate hopes that in the future that number doubles by having 15,000 to 20,000 high school students take the test.
He and several of the school officials who visited during the event are hoping they can meet this goal coming out of the Covid-19 pandemic, by getting the ASVAB back as part of a regularly administered exams.
“We are also here to get some ASVAB prep so we can better prepare our students to pass the ASVAB test,” said Wallace.
Wallace concluded the importance of the event by stating, “Kids love these types of things, problem solving, being creative, seeing a problem that they deal with every day and actually having the freedom, the autonomy, and the capacity to remedy that problem, the jobs are just limitless, and it’s just the best opportunity for our children.”