Program offers perspective academy students chance to SOAR

 

PORTSMOUTH, Va. — Local Hampton Roads school students listen as Lt. Caroline Bladen and Lt. Kenisha Scott, both recent Coast Guard Academy graduates, talk about their experiences at the academy and in the Coast Guard during the Students of All Races outreach tour at Coast Guard Station Portsmouth, Dec. 3, 2011. The SOAR program was started as a way to bring diversity into the Coast Guard by actively inviting middle school and high school students to Coast Guard facilities across the nation to learn about possible future careers as an officer in the Coast Guard. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd class David Weydert.

PORTSMOUTH, Va. — Local Hampton Roads school students listen as Lt. Caroline Bladen and Lt. Kenisha Scott, both recent Coast Guard Academy graduates, talk about their experiences at the academy and in the Coast Guard during the Students of All Races outreach tour at Coast Guard Station Portsmouth, Dec. 3, 2011. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd class David Weydert.

Post written by PA3 David Weydert

The future for many students is shrouded in a fog of possibilities, but for 37 students in the Hampton Roads area, that fog is lifting, the coast is clear and the welcoming light of the Coast Guard Academy is illuminating the possibility of becoming an officer in the Coast Guard.

The academy’s Students of All Races outreach program started as the Super Saturday program at the academy in 2006 to increase participation in academy campus tours and programs, with an overall aim of increasing minority applications.

“We are trying to build a community of inclusion,” said Lt. Timothy Frazier, the academy admissions officer of the Mid-Atlantic region. “The academy is trying to lead the way through its cadets.”

Held in more than 16 locations across the U.S., this particular SOAR event took place at Coast Guard Base Portsmouth, located in Virginia’s Hampton Roads area. Coast Guard officers who recently graduated the academy split the student and parent attendees into three groups and guided them on tours of three key aspects of the Coast Guard: the command center, the cutter fleet, and the small boat stations.   

PORTSMOUTH, Va. — High school students and parents walk alongside the Coast Guard Cutter Legare during a tour of assets and units at Coast Guard Base Portsmouth during the Coast Guard Academy's Students of All Races outreach program, Dec. 3, 2011. The academy sponsored SOAR event welcomed potential academy cadets to Base Portsmouth with discussions, demonstrations, and tours to show the students what a career as a Coast Guard officer entails. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd class David Weydert

PORTSMOUTH, Va. — High school students and parents walk alongside the Coast Guard Cutter Legare during a tour of assets and units at Coast Guard Base Portsmouth during the Coast Guard Academy's Students of All Races outreach program, Dec. 3, 2011. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd class David Weydert

The tour of the command center took place at Coast Guard Sector Hampton Roads Command Center. The potential cadets learned the duties and responsibilities of the officers who work with the command center and how during a case, the command center staff acts as the centralized nerve center in a Coast Guard response. Command center watchstanders take in all information provided by units in the field and direct said units to critical locals during a response.

On the other side of a case response, touring students visited the 270-foot white hulled, Coast Guard Cutter Legare. While aboard the Legare, a boarding team member demonstrated the gear used during at-sea law enforcement cases, before a damage control specialist grabbed their attention with the equipment used in the event of a fire. Aboard a cutter, everyone must know how to respond to a fire and the steps necessary to defeat it.

The last aspect of the visit was at Coast Guard Station Portsmouth. The students climbed into a Coast Guard Response Boat – Small and learned about the search and rescue and maritime patrol jobs that are the bread and butter of a Coast Guard boat station.

The tour laid before the eyes of the students a realm of possibilities offered by the Coast Guard Academy, and upon graduation, a distinguished career of honor, respect, and devotion to duty within the United States Coast Guard.

PORTSMOUTH, Va. — Student participants of the Coast Guard Academy's Students of All Races outreach program watch as Petty Officer 3rd Class Maitreya de Gelabert, a maritime enforcement specialist assigned to the Coast Guard Cutter Legare, shows the gear and equipment used by boarding team members on the Legare's flight deck here, Dec. 3, 2011. The SOAR program was created to give students of all backgrounds a chance to tour multiple aspects of the Coast Guard and introduce them to life in the Coast Guard officer field. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd class David Weydert

PORTSMOUTH, Va. — Student participants of the Coast Guard Academy's Students of All Races outreach program watch as Petty Officer 3rd Class Maitreya de Gelabert, a maritime enforcement specialist assigned to the Coast Guard Cutter Legare, shows the gear and equipment used by boarding team members on the Legare's flight deck here, Dec. 3, 2011. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd class David Weydert

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