May 31, 2011
By Petty Officer 3rd Class Hadi El-Abiad
SAN DIEGO – Female sailors assigned to Fleet Logistics Support Squadron Five-Seven volunteered their time by giving career presentations to fifth and sixth-graders at Berry Elementary School in San Diego May 27.
The presentations were part of an existing relationship between the elementary school and VR-57 to mentor and inspire economically disadvantaged students.
Veronica Duarte, an academic coach for Berry Elementary School, said some of the students have difficulty envisioning themselves in nontraditional professions.
“By seeing women that can do a job that is stereotypically a man’s job like a firefighter, [the girls] can see themselves in that speaker’s position,” Duarte said.
For Cmdr. Tim Rascoll, the commanding officer of VR-57, visiting the students of Berry Elementary School is one of the events that he looks forward to each month.
“I hope that it plants a seed so that they realize that any hope, thought, or dream is attainable,” he said. “The female professionals who we had come to speak to the crowd today are representatives of VR-57 and the Navy, and they are great examples of positions and opportunities that the girls can strive for.”
Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Elizabeth Gloria, aircrewman, a reservist and firefighter, said the girls were amazed to see women working as military pilots, firefighters, business owners and budget analysts. Gloria said she hopes the meeting and presentations will inspire them to explore all career options.
“It’s good to teach the kids that education helps to get a better job out in the future. For example, I’ve worked for the fire department for at least five years, and it shows them that they can be anything that they want them to be,” Gloria added.
Brisa Rodriguez, a sixth grade student who attended the presentation, said she was motivated by the mentorship of the sailors.
“I think that they are a good role model because they work hard to get where there are now and that inspires me to do my best and never give up,” she said.