WAHS event promotes careers in technology

WAHS event promotes careers in technology
February 20 11:24 2018 Print This Article

About 400 students at West Ashley High School (WAHS) participated in an event Tuesday to promote careers in technology and the military.  The Student Outreach and Recruitment program presented by the West Columbia-based non-profit Celebrate Freedom Foundation (CFF).  CFF was founded in 1999, with the mission of promoting patriotism, honoring the military, and promoting careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).  A former Army Cobra helicopter was on display, and representatives from the local Army recruiting office gave a presentation.

WAHS has a vibrant Career and Technical Education program.  Students toured three stations highlighting career opportunities.  CFF’s Frederick Thompson, a retired Army communications officer with a degree in industrial engineering from Mississippi State, told students about the many jobs available in the field of drone operations, with annual pay ranging from $45,000 to $145,000.  He urged students to have a career plan and reach their dreams.  Gay Suber explained all the technical skills involved in operating a helicopter and the physics involved in flight.  Staff sergeant Joseph Clark, an Army recruiter who also works with the WAHS wrestling team, spoke about career skills available in Army training programs.  He asked students to share their career goals.  Kip Cook responded that the engineering courses he has taken at WAHS (including drone operations) have inspired him to become an engineer.

Captain Travis Newton, the commander of the Charleston-area Army recruiting station, said that there is a growing interest in military service and that recruiting goals are likely to increase in future years.  Navy Commander Robert Turner heads the WAHS Navy Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps program, which has about 200 students participating.  He said that about 25% of the students will wind up serving in the military, some as officers.  The unit does an annual one-week training program at the Parris Island Marine Corps Recruit Depot in Beaufort County in August and that the students take annual trips to the Mayport Naval Station near Jacksonville and the Charleston Air Force Base.