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JBA first sergeants visit local high school

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Joint Base Andrews first sergeants pose with Dr. Henry A. Wise Jr. High School faculty, Air Force Junior Reserve Training Corps cadets and the JBA school liaison officer at the school in Upper Marlboro, Md., Dec. 5, 2017. The first sergeants visited the local high school to gather more information about the types of programs it offers, the facility and the learning environment to take back to their unit members. (U.S. Air Force photo by Christopher Hurd)

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Dr. Henry A. Wise Jr. High School Principal Byonka Gregory, right, speaks with Joint Base Andrews first sergeants during a visit to the school in Upper Marlboro, Md., Dec. 5, 2017. The first sergeants learned about the various programs the school offers students including business and finance, health and biosciences, information technology, and arts integration. (U.S. Air Force photo by Christopher Hurd)

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Dr. Henry A. Wise Jr. High School Principal Byonka Gregory, right, speaks with Joint Base Andrews first sergeants during a visit to the school in Upper Marlboro, Md., Dec. 5, 2017. The first sergeants learned about the various programs the school offers students including business and finance, health and biosciences, information technology, and arts integration. (U.S. Air Force photo by Christopher Hurd)

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A Dr. Henry A. Wise Jr. High School Air Force Junior Reserve Training Corps cadet waits for Joint Base Andrews first sergeants to arrive at the school in Upper Marlboro, Md., Dec. 5, 2017. The JBA first sergeants visited with the cadets to hear their views on the school and to talk about military life.(U.S. Air Force photo by Christopher Hurd)

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Joint Base Andrews first sergeants visit a science, technology, engineering and math classroom at Dr. Henry A. Wise Jr. High School in Upper Marlboro, Md., Dec. 5, 2017. The STEM program, along with business and finance, arts integration and health and biosciences, are areas the school focuses on to give the students a wide range of skills making them competitive for college and jobs after graduation. (U.S. Air Force photo by Christophe Hurd)

JOINT BASE ANDREWS, Md. --

First sergeants from Joint Base Andrews visited the base zoned school Dr. Henry A. Wise Jr. High School in Upper Marlboro, Maryland Dec. 5.

The goal of the visit was to help them gather information about the public school that members within their units can send their high-school-age children to.

“As first sergeants, individuals [come] into the base and the first thing they want to know is how is the school system for their children,” said Senior Master Sgt. Alfred Wells Jr., 811th Security Forces Squadron first sergeant. “So, the best way to answer the question is to come out and visit the school and talk to the faculty.”

A first sergeant, commonly referred to as ‘first shirt’ or ‘shirt,’ is an enlisted member who looks after the morale, welfare and conduct of all the enlisted members in their squadron.

That mission to help their members with their family’s educational needs led them to plan a visit to the high school.

After arriving, the first sergeants met with the school’s faculty and members of the Air Force Junior Reserve Training Corps’ who were their guides.

Throughout the tour, they were able to get an up-close look at the various programs the school offers including business and finance, health and biosciences, information technology, and arts integration as well as the facilities and learning environment.

During the visit, the first shirts talked with the JROTC cadets and other students about the school and the relationship the military is looking to build with them.

“I feel it was really beneficial getting the chance to talk with them, getting to help them see the school and my own chance to see them in their uniform and how they carry themselves,” said Enrique Talley, school Air Force JROTC cadet commanding officer. “They really helped reinforce the idea I’ve had of a military career.”

The first shirts also got the chance to ask questions about the school to faculty members and find out how they can help foster a strong relationship between Wise high school and JBA.

Principal Byonka Gregory spoke to them about building a military presence in the school that has more than 70 military dependent children. 

“I think just coming in and talking to our kids, being a part of class nights and career days and being a presence in our building is the biggest thing you can do,” she said.

Now armed with the additional information they needed, the first sergeants feel they can better support their members.

“I learned a lot coming here,” Wells added. “Now that I have first-hand experience, I can talk to [my Airmen] and tell them what I saw. I think this was very beneficial for my 286 individuals as well as the other first sergeants who can take this back to their organizations and talk about the school and what it offers.”

For more information about schools in the surrounding base area, contact the JBA School Liaison Officer Sunny Lee at 301-981-9211.

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