Story by Sgt. Broderick Hennington, 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division

Fort Hood, TX- Children are the future, and Meadows Elementary on Fort Hood, Texas helped prepare its students for their future during the school’s career day on May 20, 2022.

“I think that highlighting the different professions and sparking interest so that students are aware of the many career fields they can pursue is very important,” said John Craft, the Killeen Independent School District Superintendent. “So often we are caught up with reading, writing, arithmetic, and the core learning that we forget to display the other aspect to these young minds that are our future workforce.”

Meadows Elementary School’s location within the Fort Hood community, and educating children of military families, allowed this event to not only display the various civilian careers, but also the diverse range of Army career fields.

“Having the military influence and being able to highlight the careers here on the installation, and throughout the Army is unique,” Craft said. “It’s an awesome experience when the kids who have a mother and/or father serving in the military get to have other Soldiers talk about their jobs.”

Among the speakers for career day were a Texas Ranger, graphic artist, wood craftsman, pilot, as well as members of the 1st Cavalry Division Horse Cavalry Detachment.

Establishing and maintain a presence in the surrounding community is a priority for Fort Hood leadership, and the 1st Cavalry Division.

“Us being here gives the kids a chance to learn the history of our unit,” said Sgt. Reggie Jammer, a maintainer with the 1st Cavalry Division Horse Cavalry Detachment. “They have an opportunity to see the equipment we use and be close modern to cowboys.”

Meadows was allowed to have speakers for its annual career day in the school for the first time since 2020, when the event was cancelled due to Covid-19.

Last year’s career day was entirely virtual, and the differences were noticeable.

“Sometimes technology has glitches and that limits the amount of student participation,” says Misti Wetzel 3rd, 4th and 5th grade counselor at Meadows. “It’s just different having the in-person experience. Our speakers sometimes bring things to interact with or do demonstrations, and it adds another element.”

Although things are closer to the norm, and many restrictions have been lifted, Meadows still was able to incorporate the virtual aspect to give more to its students.

“Today we had a graphic artist in California who works on movies,” Wetzel said. “She wasn’t able fly in, so if we didn’t have the capability to do this virtually, she couldn’t participate. Virtual [capabilities] made us able to expand our range.”

The giving the students exposure to careers was the priority, but the speakers also relished the moment as well.

“Talking to the kids was awesome,” said Sgt. Jammer. “They are so inquisitive. They give us the chance to come out here and have fun, educate and be entertaining.”