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HARRISON COUNTY, MS (WLOX) -
Gulfport Navy Week is in full swing, and Naval officers were on hand at Harrison Central High School today to teach students about the Navy in a fun and interactive way.
Petty Officer 1st Class Jack Reynolds said his mission of bringing awareness about the Navy to Harrison Central students is nearly complete.
"It's really important they understand what the Navy is. We're always looking for bright young men and women to join the fleet," said Reynolds.
Freshman Deniya Boykin said after today's experience, joining the Navy is one of her top choices for the future, especially after the simulated task.
"They could have been anywhere, but they chose to come to H.C. out of all the schools. It's a great opportunity to learn," Deniya said.
Inside the virtual reality experience, students were challenged with extracting a Navy SEAL team.
"It was crazy. I did not expect it to be that hard at all. It blew my mind. I learned from it, so now, I can take what I learned and move forward," Deniya noted.
"In the simulator, students can take a boat and operate it through virtual reality. They then extract the SEALS, go through a debrief, and get a grade on their performance throughout the situation," said Reynolds.
Student Kaytlin Smarr said she's thankful for the opportunity to speak with Navy officers.
"I am wanting to go into the Air Force, but keeping opportunities open. I've already talked to an Army and Air Force recruiter already, too," said Kaytlin.
The next stop for the virtual reality Navy experience is at Seabee Day on Saturday at the Gulfport Navy base. It'll be open to the public from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Harrison Central High students were able to take part in the Navy activity during their STEM class, which includes science, technology, engineering, and math lessons.
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Today some Harrison Central High School students got a taste of what it’s like to pilot a high speed assault craft down a river to rescue a team of Navy Seals from enemy territory.
All through a high tech virtual reality experience brought to the school by the U.S. Navy as part of Mississippi Gulf Coast Navy Week. Students had the opportunity to pose for military photos and even tested their physical endurance with a pull-up challenge.
Navy representatives will be at the school for the rest of the week. Each student is equipped with a personal, digital dog tag that could be used to display their picture, mission score, and number of pull-ups. Harrison Central High Senior Dylan Tran said, “It was pretty fun. I think that it gives a good impression of the Navy or like maybe outline what people might want to do if they want to go through military choices.”
U.S Navy Representative Petty Officer First Class Jack Reynolds said, “I’d like for them to learn some Navy awareness and see what we do on a day to day basis and what kind of opportunities are out there for them. The Navy has a very broad range of jobs to offer these students with wonderful benefits and pay and college opportunities.”
Gulfport is one of 15 Navy Week locations for 2017.