North Dakota teachers reach new heights exploring career options for students

Published: Aug. 8, 2022 at 5:13 PM CDT
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BISMARCK, N.D. (KFYR) - As the school year approaches, educators are prepared to help students plan their futures. That’s why a group of teachers and counselors reached new heights last week in a quest to learn more about one career option. Your News Leader has more from Camp Grafton at Devils Lake.

Teachers and counselors grabbed gloves, put on harnesses, and met Army National Guard members at the top of a tall wooden wall. They rappelled down. The experience was an exercise in confidence.

“It was really, really exciting to see teachers from across the state pair up with other public servants, our soldiers, and our Army National Guard,” said Kirsten Baesler, State Superintendent for the North Dakota Department of Public Instruction.

The educators tested their marksmanship with weapon simulators but learned that the Army National Guard doesn’t just train soldiers for combat.

“A lot of people when they think about the military, they think of the ‘tough guy’ type of things. But there’s so many other jobs out there. We have human resources, we have pay and finance, admin, so there’s all those jobs out there. Really, there’s something for everybody,” said Master Sergeant Calder Ressler, ND Army National Guard.

Teachers saw soldiers learning a wide variety of skills. Each soldier said they’d taken something away from their time at Camp Grafton.

“It’s a lot of hands-on learning. It’s about an hour, normally, of classroom work preparing us for the hands-on, so we do have a good idea what we’re getting into,” said Charles Miller from Delaware.

“I really do enjoy building and I enjoy working with my hands, and you do get to do a lot of that,” said Victoria Trigg from Oklahoma.

They said the skills will be useful.

“There’s a lot of jobs going around civilian-side. People need carpenters, masonry workers, and getting buildings up. A lot of apartments are starting to get constructed a lot faster. It’s definitely going to be one of those jobs that will be in high demand,” said Jizai Watson from Texas.

“A typical soldier, North Dakota Army National Guard soldier, could be anybody. You know, anybody you see out on the street... your teachers, your lawyers, somebody working at the newspaper. There’s no perfect mold,” said Major Sergeant Ressler.

At the end of the day, educators boarded Blackhawk helicopters and reflected on the career options available for North Dakota students.

“Every teacher is expected to help those young people graduate ‘choice ready.’ And that ‘choice ready’ means they are ready for post-secondary school, work, or military. So, when teachers come and are able to see those options for them to become part of the Army National Guard in North Dakota, it helps those teachers complete their goal and help their students understand that, yes, one of the pathways we encourage in North Dakota is the military pathway in addition to post-secondary or work,” said Baesler.

Friday, 56 soldiers arrived at Camp Grafton to start their next training session.

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