Learn by teaching

Cadets are briefed on the Junior Achievement curriculum prior to working with students. U.S. Coast Guard photo.

Cadets are briefed on the Junior Achievement curriculum prior to working with students. U.S. Coast Guard photo.

Written by Cadet 2nd Class Parker Lee.

When 27 Coast Guard Academy cadets arrived at Martinez Magnet School in New Haven, Conn., recently, they had their Junior Achievement briefcases in hand and were ready to teach their young audience about finance, the importance of education and the Coast Guard. The students, ranging from kindergarten to eighth grade, took a day away from the textbooks to allow the cadets to run through various lessons.

Cadet 2nd Class Parker Lee, one of the volunteers who worked with students at Martinez Magnet School. U.S. Coast Guard photo.

Cadet 2nd Class Parker Lee, one of the volunteers who worked with students at Martinez Magnet School. U.S. Coast Guard photo.

Junior Achievement is a non-profit organization that compiles lesson plans for volunteers to teach to students of all ages. Junior Achievement gives students real-world advice in the form of different games, group activities and reflections. At Martinez Magnet School, each cadet was given a classroom of students and a full day to work through their various lessons. The cadets used the Junior Achievement lessons and their personal life lessons to give the students some real-world guidance.

Each cadet is required to spend a minimum of six hours per semester doing community service. However, a majority of cadets vastly exceed that number, giving up weekends, school nights and their free time to give back to the community.

Cadets spend many hours working at local schools, with local organizations and with the community around the academy. These opportunities allow them to better the community while also introducing potential future college students to the academy.

Cadets, both male and female, come from all walks of life from all across the country, allowing for various insights and experiences to be shared with the community. The Junior Achievement lessons, along with the cadet’s sea stories, insight and personal experiences made for a great day of learning for the Martinez school students.

At the Coast Guard Academy each cadet is required to spend a minimum of six hours per semester doing community service.

At the Coast Guard Academy each cadet is required to spend a minimum of six hours per semester doing community service.

Working in the community, especially with students, gives the cadets the chance to discuss future career aspirations. Cadets often use these opportunities to explain the importance of STEM – science, technology, engineering and math – and its value in the Coast Guard, but also in the evolving civilian sector, hopefully opening student’s eyes to new ideas and goals.

Community service is a rewarding experience for not just the community and surrounding areas, but also for cadets. Cadets use these service opportunities to give back but while also learning from others in their surrounding community. The Junior Achievement day at Martinez Magnet School is a great example of this. For the cadets, this was not just a day to teach important life lessons, but a day to see how far they have come in the past 10 to 15 years. Opportunities like this help the cadets keep things in perspective and aid them in their transition into future leaders of the Coast Guard.

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