Ten Brookdalians left the Lincroft campus in style on June 21, hitching a ride in a UH-60 Blackhawk helicopter as part of the New Jersey Army National Guard’s “Educate the Educator” program.
The program, held twice a month for high school and college employees across the Garden State, is designed to strengthen ties between schools and the National Guard and give local educators an in-depth look at the work performed by its volunteer service members.
The employees – representing Brookdale’s offices of admissions, finance, operations, enrollment management and student services – lifted off from Lot 1 and were treated to a fly-by of the Statute of Liberty and the New York City skyline before turning south and ultimately touching down at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst.
There, Army National Guard personnel treated the Brookdalians to a brief information session, lunch and some informal simulator training in the base’s Joint Training and Training Development Center. The employees returned to campus in the Blackhawk in the afternoon.
“At the college level, ‘Educate the Educator’ is really our attempt to give back,” said Major Andrew Lazarchick, who joined a team of Army National Guardsmen to lead the June 21 excursion.
“We know that tuition is waived for Army and Air National Guardsmen, and this is a way for us to say hello, to say thank you and to let educators know a little bit more about what we do. We like to just folks out of the office for the day and spend some time with them. We love doing it, and the program always gets rave reviews.”
An average of 27 National Guard members are enrolled at Brookdale each semester, along with 255 veteran students studying under the GI Bill and five active-duty military members utilizing tuition assistance benefits. Many more military veterans take courses at the college throughout the year.
According to Brookdale Veterans Center Associate Christine Forman, “Educate the Educator” is a rare opportunity for college employees to learn more about the students they serve and the wide range of services provided by the New Jersey Army National Guard. It’s also a really good excuse to take a helicopter ride during the workday.
“The program helps show that there is so much more to the National Guard that simply signing up or going off to war,” Forman said. “They do so much humanitarian work. It also exposes them to the benefits that the men and women of the guard receive. It’s a unique experience, and it’s something that will stay with them forever.”
In attendance were: academic advisors Suzanne Rauso, Cindy Czapor and Stephanie Rosseter; admissions representatives Reve Anderko, Kathleen Shea, Carl Wiltsee and Kirsten Worthley; Brookdale One-Stop associate director Nancy O’Shea; enrollment management administrator Lee Stockton; and vice president of finance and operations Maureen Lawrence.
Learn more about Brookdale’s Student Veterans Services here.
Check out more photos of the helicopter landing here.