Coast Guard Assembly Inspires Students at Stephen Decatur High School

Stephen Decatur High School recently hosted Petty Officer 1st Class Jeremy Guerrero from the U.S. Coast Guard. Petty Officer Guerrero, a reservist working in the Maritime Enforcement rate, shared his inspiring journey with the students, emphasizing the invaluable experiences and growth opportunities within the Coast Guard. His visit aimed to educate and motivate students about the possibilities that await them in this branch of the military.

Guerrero’s path to the Coast Guard was shaped by his prior service in the Marine Corps Reserve. Seeking a new direction in his military career, he joined the Coast Guard and has since dedicated nearly two decades to serving his country.

“The Coast Guard has given me fulfillment and satisfaction,” he shared. “I am proud of the contribution I have made to my country and service.”

One of the key points Guerrero addressed was the challenge of recruiting young people into the Coast Guard. He emphasized the importance of partnerships with local schools, such as the one at Stephen Decatur High School facilitated by DistrictWON, a U.S. Coast Guard partner for marketing and local engagement.

These partnerships enable recruiters to build relationships with students and staff. These partnerships provide a platform for recruiters to dispel common misconceptions about the Coast Guard and highlight the diverse opportunities it offers.

“A common preconception is that Coast Guard members are always in the water and have to swim, or that they only live and work on boats,” Guerrero explained. “In reality, the Coast Guard offers a wide range of roles and environments, from maritime law enforcement to environmental protection.”

Jacob Coleman, the head football coach at Stephen Decatur High School, observed a positive impact on the students who attended the assembly. The students, ranging from grades 9 to 12 and involved in various clubs and sports teams, were impressed by what they heard.

“There was excitement and curiosity about the Coast Guard. Many students were surprised by the wide range of roles and opportunities available.” Coleman said.

Guerrero also spoke about the importance of integration and diversity within the Coast Guard. As the smallest branch of the U.S. military, the Coast Guard relies on the unique contributions of each member.

“Integration and diversity are crucial,” he noted. “We operate under the principle of ‘do more with less,’ and every member is expected to be a team player, regardless of their background.”

The assembly highlighted the numerous benefits associated with joining the Coast Guard. Guerrero outlined how the service promotes constant self-improvement through education and training, offering opportunities to live and work in various locations. This versatility helps members develop a wide range of skills and life experiences, fostering both personal and professional growth.

For students contemplating their future, Guerrero had a straightforward message: “Everyone needs a starting point, and nothing will happen until that step is made.”

He encouraged those unsure of their post-high school plans to consider the military as a solid foundation for their future endeavors.

Coleman believes that such assemblies are crucial for high school students, as they expose them to different career options and potential leadership paths.

“Student-led teams are the best teams,” he remarked. “Exposing students to the Coast Guard helps them see the potential for development as leaders in their own right.”

The assembly at Stephen Decatur High School was a resounding success, inspiring many students to consider a future with the U.S. Coast Guard and providing them with a clearer understanding of the opportunities and rewards of service.