Deployed Soldier Continues JA Commitment Overseas


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For some, inclement weather or sluggish traffic may be enough to cancel a commitment. For William Hurd, not even a dangerous military deployment, 7,578 miles distance, or nine-and-a-half hours' time difference could keep him from contacting his Junior Achievement students at Spanish Fort High School in Southern Alabama.

Prior to his deployment to Afghanistan, Captain Hurd led students in Dianne Bernasconi's Family and Consumer Science class through the JA Success Skills curriculum for two years. JA Success Skills provides engaging, academically enriching, and experiential learning sessions in work-readiness education and career perspectives.

Beginning in September, Hurd began using a video conferencing application on his smart phone to contact students from a secure location in Afghanistan. Hurd was able to demonstrate live from the field the importance of communication and motivation as well as some of the tough decisions that leaders have to make in crucial times.

The students are grateful for the program and their volunteer. Chloe Dasinger, a student in Ms. Bernasconis class said, "I felt Capt. Hurd was very helpful in the way that he showed us how to manage our careers, family and life after college. The Junior Achievement program also helped us learn how to communicate with others the correct way."

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According to Jennifer Hatchett, director of marketing for Junior Achievement of Greater Birmingham, Hurd has endeared himself to the teacher and students and has inspired other volunteers with his commitment. She explained, "This is a great example of how volunteers can go above and beyond making a difference in a students life by teaching JA. Volunteers can make a difference by sharing their own story and demonstrating real-world examples of why they need to learn work readiness skills."

Hurd reflected on his volunteer experience with Junior Achievement. "If my experiences can help at least one of the great students at Spanish Fort High School to open their eyes to opportunities they can create for themselves through the power of knowledge, motivation and dedication, then I know I have succeeded."

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