By Christine June
Harrisburg Battalion A&PA
The Harrisburg Battalion’s Education Services Specialist Mark Mazarella conducted a Command Inspection of the Carlisle Company’s Recruiting Stations Jan. 5 and 6.
“I am inspecting what I call school penetration indicators,” said Mazarella, a retired Army Lt. Col., who has been the BN’s ESS for about five years.
Some of these main indicators, he said, were good lists of juniors and seniors from public schools, 100 percent contact of these students and recruiter promotion of Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) and March 2 Success online tutoring program in high schools.
“Real focus is on the seniors – what is the current percentage of seniors who have been contacted by the station recruiters so far this school year,” said Mazarella, who goes over with recruiters where they stand now and how they can improve or continue their success in reaching high school seniors.
Mazarella also pointed out to the recruiters that the current high school dropout rate in the United States is about 7,000 students per day.
“Recruiters are a resource to help schools with at-risk students,” said Mazarella, who pointed out that this is one of his main points during command inspections. “Recruiters are role models and mentors who can help schools retain students, whether or not they join the Army.”
One of the items that Mazarella checks is school folders, which should list all school activities, the school’s key people, important school dates and events, and how many school visits were conducted by the recruiters.
At the end of his inspection, Mazarella always asks, “Any good news stories?”
What he is looking for, he said, is creative and innovative programs to get recruiters into schools.
He said he found a lot of good news stories in the Carlisle Company. Of particular note, he said, were two programs at the Chambersburg Recruiting Station.
The Chambersburg RS Station Commander Sgt. 1st Class Christopher Levack said that his station has been participating in the Chambersburg High School’s “Community Service Learning Program” for the last few years.
“Students interested in the military will report daily to the station and complete a weekly project from us – basically they are shadowing us to find out what it is like to be in the Army,” said Levack, who added these projects can include researching and developing lesson plans for Future Soldiers. “They also participate in PT.”
Out of the four students who have participated in this program at the station, one joined the Army, two are enrolled in the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps in their colleges, and the other one took a different course than the military.
The other good news story program is the Waynesboro High School’s “Will Try,” which teaches life skills to at-risk students.
Levack and his recruiters are now researching how they can participate in this program for the next school year.
Upcoming Command Inspections:
Jan. 25 – 29: State College
Feb. 1 – 5: Greensburg
Feb. 7 – 12: Clarion
June 14 – 17 Lehigh Valley
June 27 – 30 Pittsburgh
July 26 – 29 Greensburg
Aug. 8 – 11 Carlisle