Privett/Shanahan take flight in a Chinook helicopter & learn about Guard's opportunities for students post-graduation
There are many paths available after graduation, and choosing one can be a daunting task for high schoolers. Educators often serve as important mentors in guiding their students through this decision-making process.
Last month, a group of Nebraska teachers took to the skies to enhance their knowledge about one of those paths: the Nebraska Army National Guard.
Wahoo High School teachers David Privett and Barb Shanahan, along with ESU2 Digital Learning Director Diane Wolfe, were participants in the 2020 Nebraska National Guard's Spring Educator Flight Program on June 16, where, among other things, they were invited to board a Boeing CH-47 Chinook helicopter at the Millard Airport for a flight to the Nebraska National Guard Museum in Seward. En route, they were treated to fantastic aerial views of Eastern Nebraska's urban and rural landscapes.
The NE National Guard’s Spring Educator Flight program is designed for high school administrators, educators, coaches, and guidance counselors. According to their website, the program “provides a unique opportunity for civilians, who work with students, to better understand the Army National Guard and what we can offer in terms of money for college, job and leadership experiences, and who qualifies to be a member of the Guard.”
The program also introduces teachers to educational programs that are offered by the Guard. Wahoo's two teachers participated along with 25 other teachers from around the state.
Once in Seward, teachers were greeted by Major General Daryl L. Bohac, the Adjutant General of the Nebraska National Guard. Retired Colonel Jerry Meyer, a former Columbus High School teacher and current historian of the Nebraska National Guard Museum, then provided a narrated tour of the facility, highlighting the NE National Guard's history dating back to its founding in the early 1880's. The museum's exhibits document the important role the NE National Guard has played in many different chapters of American History. Many of these exhibits are featured on their website: http://nengm.org/.
The visiting educators were then briefed by many Guard members on many of the career opportunities and educational benefits available to students who choose to serve their country by joining the NE National Guard. After lunch, they then re-boarded the Chinook, for a ride back to the Millard Airport.
The Wahoo teachers who participated were unanimous in deeming the program a worthwhile experience.
“It was a great day," Shanahan, WHS business teacher, commented. "The Chinook ride was an incredible experience, and the Nebraska National Guard Museum is a hidden gem in Seward. The day was much more than what I ever expected.”
Privett, WPS media director, agreed.
"I wasn't aware of all of the opportunities and benefits that are provided by the Nebraska National Guard," Privett said. "They offer training in a wide variety of career paths, make a post-secondary education far less of a financial burden, and the commitment required in return for these benefits is very reasonable. The Guard is absolutely an option that many of our students should consider."
Wahoo educators Heidi Adams (ELL/HAL), Allie Munch (HS Spanish), and John Harris (HS Counselor) have participated in this program in the past, and also speak highly of it.
"The Nebraska National Guard Educator Flight was an incredible experience! Not only did I learn what it feels like to fly in a Black Hawk, but I learned how valuable the Nebraska National Guard is to the state and about the amazing opportunities that are available through their programs,” Adams stated back in 2018. “They provide a research-based bullying prevention program for middle school and high school. Students can join while still in high school and start earning benefits toward helping with college expenses, possibly having no student debt upon college graduation. Recruits can serve within the state or they can travel. Currently the signing bonus is unbelievable. I probably would have signed up if it had been available when I was in high school!”
When all was said and done, these educators left the experience equipped to share with their students another option to explore as they prepare for life beyond graduation.
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