"I have been singing your praises to my colleagues, and I hope that leads to more opportunities..."

In my experience it is not common for guest speakers to be genuinely engaging with high school students. You all had their attention the whole time- amazing!

As I said yesterday, it is so important to be cognizant of your audience and you all clearly get that.

I noticed that you were able to present multiple messages that I think all resonated: the reality of service, the danger, the possibility of Conscientious Objector status, how to get the benefits you deserve...

I am impressed that you conveyed so many big picture ideas in a short amount of time.

On a personal level, I just want to extend my admiration for all of you to do something that I imagine is difficult, vulnerable, and counter to a dominant narrative. I don't know if you see your work as a calling, but I recognize the challenges you must face in doing this work, and I admire your commitment.

I have been singing your praises to my colleagues, and I hope that leads to more opportunities here at Fremont.

--Josh Nardie, Fremont High School in Oakland

"... an invaluable resource, and a highly engaging experience..."

I am offering the "Before Enlisting" program my very strong endorsement and recommendation, as well as my sincere thanks. This program is an invaluable resource, and a highly engaging experience, to students here at Hayward High School. We're very lucky to be part of it.

"Before Enlisting" was a First Semester "hit" with my students this year. The intro got them instantly hooked, then they leaned forward, eagerly watching and listening intently to the riveting, fact-packed video. The very top highlight, though, was the "veteran speaker" segment. So much education for them, mixed with passion and emotion. My students' questions to the vet were varied and many, and those questions continued long after the "Before Enlisting" team departed. Happily, the pamphlets they left behind for the students continued to help students have their questions answered. Overall, the full presentation was greatly informative, even-handed, friendly, and engaging as can be.

If students wish to hear a one-sided, manipulative, pro-enlisting argument, they have only to ask one of the military recruiters constantly here on campus. Even when they DON'T wish for that story, they're still often approached with it. And so, it's such a welcome, vital, important "balancing" that "Before Enlisting" provides us.

-- Mike Dwyer, Hayward High School

"The whole discussion was enormously engaging. I highly recommend..."

As a professor at College of San Mateo – a community college heavily targeted by military recruiters – I am immeasurably grateful to the Before Enlisting team for bringing a more balanced perspective to my students. Two phenomenal veteran speakers visited my class. They had taken the time to familiarize themselves with my course content, and they framed their presentation in a way that connected directly with concepts the students were exploring in the assigned course readings. The speakers were informative and compelling, combining broad historical information with first-person accounts of their own military experiences. They answered all of my students’ questions – from the simple to the sophisticated – with thoughtful equanimity, honesty, and compassion. A group of students stayed after class to talk to them longer, and these two veterans generously extended their visit for about forty minutes after the class had ended, answering additional questions and listening to students’ own related stories. Some students would have stayed even longer if they could have! The whole discussion was enormously engaging. I highly recommend Before Enlisting to all educators – your students need and deserve to hear from these powerful speakers!

-- Malathi Iyengar