HUNDREDS of attendees gathered in the City of Carson, California for the third annual military career day.
Representatives from the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines and Coast Guard were at the annual event hosted at the Congresswoman Juanita Millender-McDonald Community Center on Friday, March 24.
They spoke about their experiences in their respective branches, as well as the benefits that come with their service.
“It’s an incredible opportunity for us to talk to youth, who are in a critical stage in their life, looking for guidance, looking for a path forward,” Carson Mayor Albert Robles told the Asian Journal. “Careers in the military offer an incredible and exciting opportunity, not only for a permanent career in the military, but you acquire the training and discipline and you can take that learning experience and apply that to any other career, whether the medical field as a doctor or in the legal profession.”
Banning High School principal Rudy Mendoza, who is Filipino American, spoke about the importance of joining this event every year as it presents students with a possible route after their secondary education.
Approximately 100 students from the school are present during the presentations each year.
“It’s providing another option for our students,” Mendoza said. “It’s not just recruiting them to go to war — it’s more than that.”
Mary Bane, a science teacher at Banning whose mother hails from Cebu, Philippines, shared her prior experience serving in the Army.
“It helped me pay for college and it helped me gain work experience,” she said. “It really moved me forward in my life. I want to support my students in that same thing to look at all the options and know that there are other ways for them to pay for school. In our community, they don’t always get exposed to all the different [possibilities] so anytime we can bring and give them a broader view of the world, it’s important.”
She added that the Army has helped her with her leadership skills, which have been useful in guiding her classroom.
“In teaching, you are the leader in the classroom. Through my college experiences, I gained the knowledge and the content. But a lot of the strategies and techniques I use for classroom management actually come from my leadership training in the military,” Bane explained. “Of course, we have to soften the edges, but the students respond really well to the military mentality, which says you have to accomplish the mission, but you have to take care of your people. My students understand that.”
Carson Councilmember Elito Santarina, LAUSD Local District South Superintendent Christopher Downing, and Benjamin Soy, education services specialist for the U.S. Army Recruiting Battalion–Los Angeles, also spoke during the program.
“No matter where you go from the military, you acquire the necessary resources to move forward. These high schoolers, at such a young age, taking an interest in their futures and in their own lives means that they care,” Robles added.