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AF members educate youth at career day

Master Sgt. David Gray, 113th Air National Guard security forces member, shows Charles Carroll Middle School students a photo from when he worked with the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Colin Powell in New Carrollton, Md., Dec. 21, 2016. During a Career and Technical Education Fair, students were briefly introduced to some of the opportunities the U.S. Air Force can present and what it means to be in the Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Philip Bryant)

Master Sgt. David Gray, 113th Air National Guard security forces member, shows Charles Carroll Middle School students a photo from when he worked with the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Colin Powell in New Carrollton, Md., Dec. 21, 2016. During a Career and Technical Education Fair, students were briefly introduced to some of the opportunities the U.S. Air Force can present and what it means to be in the Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Philip Bryant)

Master Sgt. David Gray, 113th Air National Guard security forces member, shows Charles Carroll Middle School students a photo during their Career and Technical Education Fair in New Carrollton, Md., Dec. 21, 2016. Gray had photos of him previously in the Army, on deployment and shaking hands with the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Colin Powell. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Philip Bryant)

Master Sgt. David Gray, 113th Air National Guard security forces member, shows Charles Carroll Middle School students a photo during their Career and Technical Education Fair in New Carrollton, Md., Dec. 21, 2016. Gray had photos of him previously in the Army, on deployment and shaking hands with the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Colin Powell. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Philip Bryant)

NEW CARROLLTON, Md., -- Airmen from Joint Base Andrews and the National Capital Region volunteered to speak with students at Charles Carroll Middle School in New Carrollton, Maryland, during their Career and Technical Education Fair, Dec. 21, 2016.

During the career fair, students heard from individuals in an array of career fields in hopes of opening their eyes to future paths.

“The most important result of these career days is the exposure it brings,” said David Curry, Charles Carroll Middle School principal. “We want to close the opportunity gap for students, and part of that is making students aware of what is available beyond their neighborhoods. They are usually limited on their knowledge of occupations, so career days highlight more options for them.”

For speakers, the day started with signing in, being assigned to classrooms, where they had roughly 20 minutes to speak with students about their career and answer any questions before moving to the next class.

“I think it’s important for kids to stay in school and that’s what I push while I’m here,” said Master Sgt. David Gray, 113th Air National Guard security forces member. “I’m here to give them ideas of what direction they might want to take in the future. I think it’s important that I put the idea of the Air Force out there with the hope that they attach themselves to the idea and become an Airman.”

Charles Carroll Middle School, located in Prince Georges County and only 11 miles away from JBA, has nearly 1,200 students ranging from 6th grade to 8th grade.

“One of our core values at this school is discipline, and that’s the first thing that comes to mind when I think about the military,” Curry said.

The speakers shared opportunities the U.S. Air Force can present and what it means to be in the Air Force with the middle school students.

After moving around multiple classrooms and talking to different students, the school provided a small lunch as a ‘thank you’ to the volunteers.

“I want to encourage everyone to tap into the lives of children at this age,” Curry said. “They are very impressionable and trying to identify who they really are, so talking about opportunities and working with kids prior to high school is important.”