Last week, the Military Child Education Coalition’s 19th National Training Seminar was held in Washington, D.C., in support of military-connected students who attend public and Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA) schools.
During the event, two school-aged reporters, Mary Ingram and Lauren Lemon, both seniors at Quantico High School in Virginia, had the opportunity to meet and interview leaders in the military community. They were mentored by current Department of Defense communicators from the Defense Media Activity. Below, they describe their experiences:
“We had the wonderful opportunity to meet and interview exceptionally influential leaders, which included U.S. Air Force General Robin Rand, the commander of the Air Force Global Strike Command in Barksdale Air Force Base, Louisiana; U.S Army General Mark A. Miley, the Chief of Staff of the Army; U.S. Army Lieutenant General Gwen Bingham, the Assistant Chief of Staff for Installation Management; and U.S. Army Lieutenant General Charles D. Luckey, the Chief of Army Reserve and Commanding General, United States Army Reserve Command. During these interviews, my partner and I determined that there was a common theme among each of these leaders — that military-connected students should have a quality education in a safe environment regardless of the location.
“We also had the opportunity to observe a lecture given by Ms. Kathleen Facon, the Chief of Educational Partnerships Branch for DoDEA, and Dr. Maureen Dowling, the director of Office of Non-Public Education and Military Affairs Team for the Department of Education. In this distinguished lecture, we learned how these agencies both support military-connected students, families and schools. We learned what resources the DoDEA provides to military-connected school districts to allow for the expansion of existing programs as well as fund innovative solutions to meet the academic, social and emotional needs of the highly mobile military-connected students in their community. In this lecture, we also were informed of the opportunity for students stationed within countries without DODEA schools through the Non-DoD Schools Program (NDSP).
“The main takeaway from this experience is that the military community and civilian community are constantly working together in an effort to help military-connected students receive a quality education.”
“Working with the Defense Media Activity media team and the Department of Defense Education Activity communication team in Washington, D.C., was a wonderful experience that provided me with the opportunity to meet spectacular people.
“While at the conference, my peer and I were cub reporters and had the opportunity to interview senior military generals. Also, we got to witness how the DODEA school system functions in regards to decision-making and how they support school districts with military-connected children.
“It was a wonderful opportunity to meet such inspiring figures and hear their viewpoints regarding military-connected families and how it perfectly correlated to my life as a military child. I’m grateful for being given the opportunity to partake in the MCEC conference and meet such wonderful people.”
Watch a video highlighting some of the interviews Mary and Lauren conducted below: