By Mr Jorge Gomez (USAREC)April 23, 2012
MILWAUKEE -- Teachers can talk about success all day to youth but it's always a lot better to show them, said Jeff Eben, J.I. Case High School principal.
For one entire day hundreds of Case High School students interacted with Soldiers through multiple activities to capture a sense of what it's like to be a successful individual.
The Milwaukee Recruiting Battalion launched its fourth Pathway to Success event April 19 in Racine. The program filled the school's gymnasium with physical fitness challenges and educational activities.
At the center of each challenge or activity was a uniformed Soldier who explained the importance of pursuing fitness and excellence in what ever pathway they chose.
Students could take up push up challenges from drill sergeants or learn about land navigation from infantry Soldiers. They could put on boxing gloves and test their punches against the Army's professional boxers from the World Class Athlete Program. They could see, smell and taste the various warrior food concoctions from Meals, Ready-to-Eat. College-driven students could register for free online ACT preparation with the March 2 Success program.
"There was something for everybody," said Fred Markwardt, physical education department chair. "This was a good opportunity for the kids to experience the different things the Army does."
The school principal said that just having the students interact with people who are driven by firm values was beneficial to the students.
"These students come from a variety of backgrounds and some of them don't have access to the world outside of their neighborhoods. This event fits perfectly with what we want from an organization we trust," Eben said.
Capt. Carissa Schessow, Milwaukee Recruiting Company commander, said the event enhanced the Army's relationship with the school, testified by the many thanks received from staff and students.
"The students were open to discussing their educational and life goals with recruiters through the different interactive stations at the event that they would not normally approach due to knowing the Soldiers are recruiters," Schessow said.
The school is now requesting a presentation on the Army's values in preparation for the school's unveiling of a new motto in the fall. Army JROTC is also now being considered by the school as a result of this event, she said.
Some students are also now looking at the future with at least one other option to consider. Lynn Tran, an 11th grade student, said the Army's presentation on combatives and boxing techniques was an eye-opener, but the medical career opportunities are perhaps the most meaningful to her.
"You can go out and be a trauma physician in the Army. The Army can lead you to lots of places," Tran said. Her goal is to become a physician but she has not decided how she going to do it.
Nicole Holst, another 11th grade student, said she wants to be a nurse and she's thinking about the Army as a viable career option but for her the event gave her the opportunity to meet Soldiers in real life.
"The Soldiers are very respectful, kind and friendly. They are not scary," said Holst. "And the Army is not just about fighting, there are other things to the Army."
Mariana Anguiano, a 12th grade student, discovered how the Army feeds its warriors in the field. She ate what some infantry Soldiers describe as an MRE veggie burger.
"The bread was thick but the (vegetarian) patty tasted like meat. Some of the food was weird but the chili and and beans tasted better than my mom's," Anguiano said.
Sgt. 1st Class Thomas McCarter, Kenosha Recuiter Center commander, said this was a good way to involve Soldiers in the community and display the many facets of the Army.
"We wanted to inspire these youth, to show them a path to success. Now they know our faces and they can see we are human beings," he said.