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NEWS | Oct. 19, 2011

Sailors mentor NJROTC Cadets

By Petty Officer 1st Class Jennifer Hudson Joint Base Charleston Public Affairs

More than 20 students from Summerville High School Navy Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps Program, ranging from freshmen to seniors, participated in the third annual Job Shadowing Project held at Joint Base Charleston-Weapons Station Oct. 14.

The cadets were paired with Sailors whose career matched their own professional ambitions. Military personnel volunteered to participate in the project to provide students with hands-on experience that linked schoolwork to real-life.

"We are bringing these students onboard the base in hopes of steering them in the direction in which they are most interested," said Chief Petty Officer Shawn Sorensen, Naval Support Activity command career counselor and event coordinator. "This is our opportunity to shine, show them what we have, to offer and help clear up any questions they may have or at the very least, show them what opportunities the Navy can offer once they get out of high school."

Students were grouped with Sailors from the Security, Galley, Administrative and Public Affairs departments as well as the Naval Health Clinic Charleston, where they learned the ins and outs of that specific career field.

"These trips give students the opportunity to see and experience various careers that they might be interested in pursuing for themselves later down the road," said retired Marine Col.Claude Davis, NJROTC program senior naval science instructor.

"Some of these cadets have the intent of joining the military and some do not, but it does not matter because these experiences make them more well-rounded, marketable in the civilian or military sector and helps structure them for success both professionally and personally," Davis said.

Taking the classroom and applying it to real life practical application, students were given the opportunity to perform some of the duties a Sailor does on a daily basis.

"I love seeing the awe in the students' eyes when I show them a piece of equipment or let them do something that pertains to my everyday job. It is something I do routinely so I don't look at my job like it's something special," said Chief Petty Officer Justin Sweat, IT deparment information systems technician and event coordinator. "But to them they are just so amazed and fascinated by my daily duties that it reminds me of how I was when I first joined and why I continue to do the job that I do."

Cadet Donna Mason, a junior who shadowed Petty Officer 3rd Class Chris Roberts, a ship's serviceman at the galley, helped bake a cake at the WS Galley. She said that touring the galley was exciting and has plans on becoming a culinary specialist someday.

"I knew a few years ago that I wanted to be doing culinary arts so this experience has taught me a lot and it has been great," she said. "We had hands-on experience by baking a cake and that was a little challenging because of how tough it was to mix the batter but I had a lot of fun."

Some Cadets who had no plans of joining the Navy later changed their minds, saying that this trip to JB Charleston - WS opened their eyes to the vast opportunities the Navy has to offer.

"I had originally wanted to join the Coast Guard Maritime Security Unit or even the Army's Airborne or Special Forces Unit but I didn't realize the Navy had a security force. I am still undecided as to which I will join but now I am really considering the Navy," said Cadet Morgan Abel who was paired with the Security Department at JB Charleston-WS. "My dad was in the Army so I am used to the military lifestyle. I think that it provides purpose, discipline and structure that will help me become successful."

"After seeing the base I realized that the opportunities are endless and it really opened up my eyes to all the jobs that are available in the Navy," Abel said.

Davis said that he hopes the students learn from their trip to JB Charleston-WS, gain appreciation of the work Sailors do on a daily basis and hopefully learn that they too can be a successful career Navy Sailor.

"It's all about the students and what we can do to make them better than they already are," he said. "If we can make even the smallest impact on a student's life to make them believe that they can do it, at the end of the day I'm ecstatic. All the military personnel who volunteered, their collective efforts will go far in making our cadets successful in their future efforts and it is great to have been able to offer our cadets opportunities like these."