Expanding horizons for Alaska’s youth

Petty Officer 2nd Class Jordan Roy, a boatswain's mate stationed at Coast Guard Station Juneau, Alaska, poses a question to students from Kake High School during a tour of the station, April 16, 2013. The Southeast Regional Resource Center arranged the visit to the station so the students could learn about career opportunities in the Coast Guard. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Grant DeVuyst

Petty Officer 2nd Class Jordan Roy, a boatswain’s mate stationed at Coast Guard Station Juneau, Alaska, poses a question to students from Kake High School during a tour of the station, April 16, 2013. The Southeast Regional Resource Center arranged the visit to the station so the students could learn about career opportunities in the Coast Guard. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Grant DeVuyst

Depending on the location and type of unit, a Coast Guardsman could be described in a variety of terms: lifesaver, law enforcer, pollution responder, aviator, teacher and so much more. Last week, as part of the Coast Guard Partnership in Education program, the crew of Coast Guard Station Juneau showcased their teaching skills during two educational events for Southeast Alaska students.

The week of education started on the afternoon of April 16, 2013, when a van full of students from Kake High School pulled up to the station for a unique learning experience. Herded by a handful of adults, the students poured into the warm station out of the seemingly constant Juneau drizzle.

In the station’s training room information packets adorned the desks in neat rows. The crew’s preparation set the stage for them to share their experiences and knowledge about serving in the Coast Guard with the visiting students.

Petty Officer 2nd Class Jordan Roy, a boatswain’s mate with Station Juneau, stood at a podium in the front of the room. Once the chairs were filled and the chatter subsided, Roy kicked off the event with a lively exposition on life in the Coast Guard.

After Roy and Seaman Solomon Lockhart, a deckhand and aspiring maritime enforcement specialist at the station, answered a handful of questions from the inquisitive teenagers, they took the group into the station’s garage to show off a 25-foot Response Boat – Small.

“The whole idea behind this program is to get kids ready for the adult world,” said Mac Metcalfe, a Career Connections instructor with the Southeast Regional Resource Center, the organization that set up the visit to Station Juneau.

For the second event of the week, crewmembers took the education game out of the station and into the community.Petty Officer 2nd Class Brett Rielly, a boatswain’s mate at the station, drove across town to Dzantik’i Heeni Middle School to teach a math class. Navigation is a primary skill for a boat driver, and mathematics is an essential component of navigation.

Petty Officer 2nd Class Brett Rielly, a boatswain's mate stationed at Coast Guard Station Juneau, Alaska, writes out an equation used to calculate distance in Jody Levernier's sixth-grade math class at Dzantik'i Heeni Middle School April 19, 2013. This event marked the fifth consecutive year that Levernier invited Coast Guard personnel to her class to show students how practical math is in the real world. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Grant DeVuyst

Petty Officer 2nd Class Brett Rielly, a boatswain’s mate stationed at Coast Guard Station Juneau, Alaska, writes out an equation used to calculate distance in Jody Levernier’s sixth-grade math class at Dzantik’i Heeni Middle School April 19, 2013. This event marked the fifth consecutive year that Levernier invited Coast Guard personnel to her class to show students how practical math is in the real world. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Grant DeVuyst

For two of Judy Levernier’s one-hour classes, Rielly explained just how relevant mathematics is in his daily routine. The students sat in rapt attention, jumping at the chance to answer the problems he presented to the class throughout the lesson.

As examples, Rielly drew out search patterns, a compass and the formula he uses to quickly calculate distance travelled.

This was not the first time Levernier invited the Coast Guard in to help teach a relevant math lesson; in fact, this was the fifth year running.

“I try to teach the kids the importance of using math,” Levernier said. “It’s been great, and we also do a survival unit in science. The Coast Guard will come out to do survival suits with us.”

Whether giving a math lesson or explaining career opportunities, working with students provides an exceptional opportunity for service members to get involved in their community.

“I enjoy talking to today’s youth about the Coast Guard and the opportunities that it holds,” said Roy. “I know when I was in their shoes, just being able to talk to somebody helped out tremendously.”

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