Head of the class Fightertown hosts Beaufort County School principals, counselors

19 Dec 2008 | Sgt. John Jackson

The Air Station hosted 21 Beaufort County School principals, assistant principals and guidance counselors Dec. 12 for a workshop designed to help give the local educators a better understanding of the military and military children.
The workshop included information on lifestyle concerns unique to military families, proven techniques to better serve military families, a windshield tour of the installation, a tour of a Hornet squadron and a look into the F/A-18 flight simulator.
“This is the first workshop we have hosted,” said Kim Wiley, the Air Station’s education liaison officer and host of the day’s activities. “We felt this was a great way to open lines of communication between the bases and the local community.”
The workshop began with several informative briefs to help the attendees better understand several situations that are unique to military families and a variety of programs the Marine Corps offers.
“This helped me to better understand what (military) kids are going through,” said Bob Grant, the Shanklin Elementary School principal. “It was a huge eye-opener to realize how often these children move. They go from Japan to here to California all in a five year span – it’s amazing.”
“We have a lot of military children at our school,” said Deborah Ogden, the Mossy Oaks Elementary School assistant principal. “I personally haven’t had any military experience, so this was outstanding. Learning about the various programs and knowing they can come to the school is a great resource.”
Following the morning briefs, the educators ate at the Mess Hall and then toured Marine All-Weather Fighter Attack Squadron 533 and a brief time to experience the flight simulator. This allowed the educators the unique opportunity to see first-hand the day-to-day operations at the Air Station, as well as have a better understanding of what military children’s parents do.
“It was very exciting to come here,” said Jennifer Henry, a guidance counselor at Shell Point Elementary School. “It was very informative. Just being able to understand the lingo really helps.”
The day ended and the educators, as well as Wiley  and other Air Station personnel, felt the day was a valuable learning tool for everyone who attended.
“This day was much needed, and I think it was a huge success,” Wiley said. “We have approximately 3,000 families here and approximately 1,200 to 1,500 school-aged children. I think this workshop was beneficial for everyone.”
“So many military children attend public schools,” said Ted Crandall, the Marine Aircraft Group 31 family readiness officer. “This was a great way to continue to build a relationship with the local community.”