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Sailors Participate In Elementary School Career Day
by U.S. Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Kenneth Gardner
July 26, 2019

The air began to fill with excitement and curiosity as the students of Richneck Elementary School approached the school’s gymnasium. As soon as the clock hit 11:00 a.m., the students poured in through the gymnasium’s double doors, and started crowding the nearest tables where both Sailors and local community career vendors were waiting to greet them, marking the beginning of the school’s career day on April 11, 2019.

Sailors from the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS George Washington’s (CVN 73) Second Class Petty Officer Association (SCPOA) set-up four tables for the Richneck Elementary career day to share their experiences and the opportunities they have received from the U.S. Navy.

April 11, 2019 - Aviation Boatswain’s Mate (Fuels) 2nd Class Reginald Jones, left, from Orangeburg, South Carolina, and a member of the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS George Washington’s (CVN 73) Second Class Petty Officer Association (SCPOA), along with Aviation Boatswain’s Mate (Fuels) 2nd Class Xavier Amos, from Memphis, Tennessee, and the president of the SCPOA, talk to a group of students from Richneck Elementary School as part of the school’s career day. (U.S Navy photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Kenneth Gardner)
April 11, 2019 - Aviation Boatswain’s Mate (Fuels) 2nd Class Reginald Jones, left, from Orangeburg, South Carolina, and a member of the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS George Washington’s (CVN 73) Second Class Petty Officer Association (SCPOA), along with Aviation Boatswain’s Mate (Fuels) 2nd Class Xavier Amos, from Memphis, Tennessee, and the president of the SCPOA, talk to a group of students from Richneck Elementary School as part of the school’s career day. (U.S Navy photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Kenneth Gardner)

Richard G. Green, the Richneck Elementary School counselor, talked about the importance of introducing career days to elementary age students.

“It’s about planting the seed,” said Green. “You have to plant the seed and cultivate them so they can prepare for what they want to do in the future. We have vendors from Newport News Police Department, East Coast Polytechnic Institute (ECPI) University, and the Virginia Teacher’s Association. It is great when a child has the opportunity to sit and talk to a professional.”

As the students moved from table to table, they were able to listen to speakers and interact with props from various career fields. The SCPOA’s secretary, Machinist’s Mate 2nd Class Silas Baum, from Spanish Fork, Utah, manned the engineering table, waiting to tell the students all about his job aboard George Washington.

“So we are engineers in the Navy,” said Baum. “We work on big equipment on the ship to make sure that everyone is safe and that everyone is comfortable. We work on the air conditioning, the laundry equipment to make sure everyone’s clothes are clean, and we get to use a lot of different kinds of tools.”

Baum also talked about how the Navy does firefighting.

“We fight fires,” said Baum. “When you’re out in the middle of the ocean, the fire truck can’t get to you or otherwise it would be under water. So we are there to make sure there are no fires, and to put out any fires that do start so everyone is safe.”

April 11, 2019 - Machinist’s Mate 2nd Class Silas Baum, right, from Spanish Fork, Utah, and the secretary of the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS George Washington’s (CVN73) Second Class Petty Officer Association (SCPOA), and Machinist’s Mate 2nd Class Aujenea Stone, from Wichita, Kansas, and a SCPOA member, show the students of Richneck Elementary School a video showcasing their jobs aboard USS George Washington. (U.S Navy photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Kenneth Gardner)
April 11, 2019 - Machinist’s Mate 2nd Class Silas Baum, right, from Spanish Fork, Utah, and the secretary of the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS George Washington’s (CVN73) Second Class Petty Officer Association (SCPOA), and Machinist’s Mate 2nd Class Aujenea Stone, from Wichita, Kansas, and a SCPOA member, show the students of Richneck Elementary School a video showcasing their jobs aboard USS George Washington. (U.S Navy photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Kenneth Gardner)

One student asked how fires start in the water.

Baum replied, “The ship is not in the water; it is on top of the water. When something catches on fire, we put on the big suits like you see firefighters wearing. We are like the firefighters on the ship, to make sure everybody is safe.”

Another student from the crowd gathered around the table shouted out, “How do you fight fires? Do you punch them?”

“No we don’t punch the fires, we have hoses for water,” said Baum. “We also have dry material that puts them out. We have all sorts of things to put fires out.”

Baum expounded upon his experience with the career day.

“I think it was really awesome,” said Baum. “The kids actually seemed really interested in it. I thinks it’s really important for us to be a part of the community. We live here and are stationed here, so it’s really important for us to come to events like this that way these kids can see, at an early age, the opportunities the military provides them and the careers they can get, and the education they can receive.”

Aviation Boatswain’s Mate (Fuels) 2nd Class Xavier Amos, from Memphis, Tennessee, and the SCPOA president, wanted to give back to the students and show them what the Navy is about by having multiple petty officer 2nd classes from different rates showcase the various opportunities the Navy offers.

“The kids are hilarious,” said Amos. “We choose different rates among the 2nd classes to show the diversity of the Navy. They got to see that it is more than just shooting, they were able to see that we have real jobs on the ship also.”

Green went on to discuss what he wanted the students to take away from the Navy’s presence at the career day.

“Career options: that’s the biggest thing,” said Green. “Most people look at the Navy, the military, as a combative force. They have to understand it is more than about fighting wars or anything like that; it’s about careers. The Navy is an important part of the community, its nation building and on top of nation building, you are building a student. I believe the Navy, the military, and the community are one.”

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