Education Center celebrates American Education Week
CAMP HUMPHREYS, Korea -- When Master Sgt. Timothy J. Ward, Sr. graduated from Huntington High School in Shreveport, La. in 1993 and joined the Army he thought he was done with school. Little did he realize that his education would continue throughout his Army career and he'd earn his associate and bachelor's degrees.
Ward's was one of three Soldier success stories the Humphreys Education Center celebrated on Monday Nov. 16 to kick off American Education Week. Each story emphasized the importance of continuing education as the path to success.
Humphreys Garrison Command Sgt. Maj. Matthew D. McCoy shared that view. During his opening remarks he said that as a young Soldier he hated the idea of continuing education and more school.
"It did not take me long to recognize that learning was a lifelong endeavor which I would have to embrace to succeed, even if I didn't want to," McCoy said.
McCoy said that education is tied to advancement in the Army and prepares you for life after the military.
"I will not say that it will always be easy to work a full-time job, start families, transition to different locations but it is an important commitment, one that my wife and I understood," he said.
McCoy said that he and his wife stayed the course because they both understood the importance of a lifelong commitment to education. Their commitment instilled a desire to learn and the work ethic to succeed in their children.
Ward, the Operations Sergeant Major for 602nd Aviation Support Battalion, said as a young Soldier he benefited from a senior sergeant who told him to sign up for a college course rather than partying with his friends. Using Tuition Assistance, Ward achieved his goal of an Associate Degree, then a Bachelor's degree.
"If you don't believe that Tuition Assistance is a rewarding factor while in the military visit your local education center and put it to the test," Ward said.
The second speaker, Chief Warrant Officer 2 Yon Chu said that to succeed people should see who they want to be.
"If you do that you will create a road map; education will get you there," Chu said.
Chu also dispelled the notion that Soldiers didn't have the time for education.
"There's never going to be that perfect time, you're never going to have the time," he said. "You don't have to be perfect, just do it, and make time."
The final speaker, Pfc. Karibbein Smith of C Company 304th Expeditionary Signal Battalion, shared her story of raising her General Technical Score following Basic Training.
"I wanted to be an officer but my GT score was too low," Smith said.
Smith said she worked hard, was persistent and never gave up until she raised her score above 110, the minimum required to qualify for officer training.
She said she screamed with joy when she learned she scored above 110 on her exam.
Smith said she never gave up, no matter how discouraging and tough it was.
"Keep at it, never give up," she said.
American Education Week dates back nearly 100 years. It began as a combined initiative of the American Legion veterans group and the National Education Association. Concerned that 25 percent of World War I draftees were illiterate, the Legion and NEA met to determine how to gain public support for education.
Conventions from both organizations adopted resolutions of support to raise public awareness of the importance of education and, on Dec. 4, 1921, the first American Education Week occurred. In the years that followed other government and private organizations, e.g. the U.S. Department of Education, the national PTA, American Federation of Teachers, etc. joined the effort as co-sponsors.
American Education Week is always the week before Thanksgiving. Next year's observance will be Nov. 14-18, 2016.