Military veterans apply experience in teaching students

Former service members hope to pass the torch to new generation of enlistees


Maheen Anjum

Alan Brooks, a Marine veteran, now teaches English at Akins after working in logistics.

Mary Griffis, Entertainment Editor

Col. Ronald Oliverio’s has striven throughout his career to follow a motto that he has tried to instill into his cadets — head, heart, hands.

“Head” represents thinking about what you want to accomplish. “Heart” symbolizes the passion needed to bring ideas into reality. And “hands” emphasizes the need to act upon your idea to accomplish it.

Many students in the Air Force JROTC program consider enlisting and serving one of the branches of the military after graduating from high school. If they need inspiration or guidance, they have to look no further than their own Akins teachers and administrators to find people who have served in the military.

Some, like English teacher Alan Brooks went through the ROTC program for all four years of high school. Others, like assistant principal Robert Deckard, waited until after high school to learn about the military career option.

Deckard said he was persuaded by a gentleman he used to work for.

“He was telling me I could do military as a way to go into Secret Service or FBI or CIA,” he said.

Unlike Brooks, Colonel Oliverio went through the ROTC program in college instead of high school.

“I didn’t go to a boot camp. I went through the ROTC program in college and when I finished I just raised my right hand and said the oath of office,” Oliverio said.

During their time in the military everyone took on an official job position. Deckard was an infantryman, whereas Oliverio was primarily associated with

the Intercontinental Ballistic Missile Program. Brooks served as a logistics vehicle system operator.

This experience in the military would eventually influence their future careers in education.

“I got a much more firm grasp on self discipline, organizing myself, and making sure that I take care of tasks that absolutely need to be done before I do fun stuff,” Deckard said.

From the battlefield to the classroom these men have changed lives but they’re not the only ones. On Wednesday, the country celebrated Veteran’s Day and each of them shared their thoughts on what the holiday represents to them.

“I think America needs to remember, frequently, the contributions of all of our young men and women who are serving this nation no matter what uniform they are wearing,” Oliverio said.

This is the day we show our gratitude and honor those who have also changed many lives and have made the ultimate sacrifice.

“We pay respect to the people that gave the ultimate sacrifice so that we could enjoy the freedoms that we have at this day and age,” Deckard said.

Akins graduates who choose to pursue a career in the military will follow in the footsteps of these veterans who now consider themselves educators. Olivero said he always enjoys the chance to pass the torch of military service to the next generation.

“I did my best to do my part during my career in the military and the young people soon I’m gonna say ‘OK over to you, you better take good care of this country,’” Oliverio said.