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Common Experiences Start Early: an OSP PA reflects on exchange

  • Published
  • By 1st Lt. Lauren Wright
  • Operation Southern Partner Public Affairs
Subject matter experts from various disciplines have been exchanging experiences here since June 1 as part of Operation Southern Partner. Some discuss commonalities in how they protect aircraft, assets and ensure safe operations. Today I joined Kevin Walston, Air Combat Command public affairs chief of readiness and resources, to emphasize another commonality: the importance of teachers and education. 

We visited five schools here to talk to 450 six and seventh graders and were reminded of truths that span generations and oceans. Not surprisingly, the students here said they didn't like homework, and would rather play than study. They talked about subjects that they liked, and others they did not. 

This was certainly true for me. 

"I hated science and math. But I have to know a little science and a little math to get by in life," I said. 

The schools here did not have a computer in every classroom, which was hard to ignore, but we focused on what the kids can control: their attitude. 

What you do with what you have, and what is in your head and in your heart, is more important than the clothes you wear or the books in your class, we stressed.

One boy said he liked cricket and soccer.

"If you have a ball and no net, are you going to stop playing?" I asked. "No. You are going to make it work, and make the most out of what you have. We don't always have everything we want, so we do the best we can."

Try your best, we said. Try your best at everything so you can set an example in your community when you grow up. 

"One of you could be the next prime minister or president," Walston said. "Don't let someone tell you that you cannot do it."

We were not telling the kids something new, but they were gracious and laughed with us about parents who ask us to do chores we don't want to, tell us what to wear or what choices to make.

"Your parents and your teachers love you," Walston said. "They love you, so listen to them."
Normally I stand behind the camera, or sit behind a desk, and publicize Airmen activities. Today I had a chance to stand in front and I had a truly memorable exchange."
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