TESTIMONIALS for Michael Peterson's 
My Real Life Tour Featuring TAG YOU'RE IT!



Thanks for bringing the “Tag You’re it” program to Avon High School. Feedback from both students and staff has been very positive. With instructional time being so valuable, it is important that programs like this add value to the student experience. I would give this an “A” grade J.

You not only have a great musical talent but also a gift to connect with kids. As much as you coach kids on how to behave and show respect during presentations the true test is the quality of the presenter and the quality of the message. Home runs of both!

I would also like to thank you for making yourself available for our benefit concert on Saturday. With so many activities going on that evening I was disappointed at our turn out but those in attendance said it was a great time. To me it’s not how much money we raised but the act of kindness and generosity on Michael’s part that will be remembered the most.


Rick Adcock Principal, Avon High School



It was great to meet you and talk with you on your visit to Avon. I was impressed with your message to our kids and the way you held their attention. I was especially impressed with your genuine demeanor and the fact that you spent all of your free time during the day just speaking with people in the building. This is my 41st year in coaching, teaching, and guidance and I have loved everyday of interacting and mentoring students at a time in their lives when it is needed the most. It was very obvious to me that you have that talent. I am glad that you have found a forum to deliver your very important message. Good that you enjoyed your experience in football. It helps students understand the importance of hard work, being accountable for your own actions, and understanding what is means to be a teammate. It was a tough loss for our football team. I was a head coach for 33 years but I actually retired as the HC at Avon last season. These are still my old kids so I follow their progress with great interest. I was unable to attend your concert on Saturday night but my wife worked as one of the volunteers and was able to attend and enjoyed your performance very much. I plan on checking out your web site. Hopefully we can use it to help support our other programs. Sincerely,

Dave Shelbourne Former Head Football Coach & Guidance Counselor

Avon High School 

The message is powerful because it is so important, the program is dynamic because it its genuine. He spoke from the heart – he spoke from the heart with a message that our kids need to hear. It’s that good – and given the opportunity to have Michael and the group back, I would do it in an instant. The connections that were made, our kids were engaged, our kids were attentive and after the program there were relationships that were established and the message from the tour came across came out loud and clear.” 

Kent Mann Principal Grand Island High School Grand Island, NE


“The US Army is displaying extraordinarily strong and insightful strategic judgment in fielding a program such as this. The message is positive and patriotic, hopeful and helpful, timely and timeless, strong and subtle. This program presents the right sort of message for the US Army of today. 

William A. Stephens, Managing Principal


“As a high school educator, you quickly learn that your peers do not like their teaching time taken for any reason. I attempt to keep those times I request sacred and minimal during the school year. I often hear from some teachers that students do not deserve to leave their classroom for my programs. Yesterday was definitely different. There was such a positive atmosphere after the program and everyone wanted to talk about what they witnessed and the message they heard.”

LTC Rich Laughlin Senior Army JROTC Instructor Butler High School


“In one of the schools visited the principal approached me about the Army in a negative way. Following the school assembly that same principal came back to me and said that he was impressed and felt that the Army actually cared for the students and not just wanted them to join the service. This spoke volumes to me on what the Tour can do.

I have been in the military for over 17 years and never have I ever experienced the Army in this manner. The school rallies were phenomenal and allowed a great number of students to see that the Army cares about more than just enlisting them. His message was for everyone and the students were very receptive to his message. Many educators attended the COI dinner and were immediately requesting the tour to visit their schools. This helped reinforce a bridge my recruiters built with schools. I would not hesitate to recommend the tour to any and all schools.”

Dothan Recruiting Company, Annette L. Garrett CPT, LG Commanding


“The Michael Peterson – My Real Life Tour conducted six schools assemblies and one concert in Evansville, IN the week of 14 April 2008. I have been a company commander for 21 months. In my time, this was the most effective way to gain assess into schools. Mr. Peterson’s message impacted the lives of every attendee. The tour has presented the Army in a different light to educators.

The tour is having and will continue to have a great impact in our schools. As a result of the tour, we have changed the mind of a close minded principal. The same principal is going to be the Superintendent of the area next year. A key message that our recruiters try to get across to educators, is that we are an asset. The tour has achieved what we have been saying all along. The tour has not only impacted the schools attended, but the message has spread to the other school in the area

As a result of the tour, we have been able to solidify relations with our COIs. The COI Dinner energized the educators and community leaders. As we have been contacting them, they have all stated that they are there to support us. They look forward to working with us and make a positive impact in their communities. This program needs to stay in USAREC. Every unit can use and benefit from the tour. The tour’s message will make a huge impact in the schools. The return on investment will be seen through years to come. The tour will allow us to continue to work with COI and the schools to better their communities. Michael Peterson and his crew are an asset. I whole heartedly endorse this program and look forward to having them in my area next year.”

US ARMY Recruiting Company, Bloomington CPT Ivan Miranda, FI Commanding

“Michael Peterson is the real deal! He is not only a professional but he was so personable and went out of his way to honor our community I have been in this business for over twenty years and I have never seen a program like this. The message was clear and strong while the program was entertaining and kept over 1,000 students spellbound for over an hour! It could not have gone better.  

One of the most impressive aspects of this program is that it was absolutely free! The U.S. Army partnered with the American Legion, New Holland Farm Equipment, and Sea Ray Boats to sponsor a program that would probably cost over $10,000.

What was even better is that we were not inundated with commercials and the recruiters did not use this as a platform to recruit. While I took the opportunity to celebrate patriotism in our school, the U.S. Army was an augmentation but not a nuisance. In light of this, they will be welcome back to our school.”

Rob Slauson, Principal, Lincoln Southwest High School

“You can tell Michael put a lot of time into researching what makes a presentation to High School students work. From the opening to the end, our student’s attention was grabbed and then refocused to your message. It was amazing to hear about how all of the students were engaged in dialogue about your message after the program was over and they were headed back to class.

I have seen few programs that engulf a students mind and emotions the way you did today. Please let us know if you are ever in the area, we would love to work with you again.”

Matthew Hayes, Principal School of Global Studies and Economics at Olympic High School


“I have had the opportunity to participate in a lot of nationally sponsored events. I must say that this has been the most effective event in reaching out to our community leaders to thank them for their support to the Army. This was by far the most effective forum for illustrating the Army value system and allowing the recruiters to tell the Army story. Michael's message in the schools effectively illustrated how the Army value system connects those who wear the uniform with people in the community.

Further, his message was not an "in your face" recruiting message but it showed that while the Army is not for everyone, it is an option for those looking to be part of a team and find something within themselves which epitomizes the Army Strong theme. Attendance for the Assemblies was approximately 3000 for the 4 schools. The large-scale participation coupled with Michael's message will really enhance the recruiting efforts in those schools. We were able to get an Assembly at a school in which we were previously unable to penetrate. Also, these Assemblies allowed us to enlighten the teachers and counselors that attended. Value added is the chance for recruiters to re-engage more students and develop new COIs within these schools. The Assemblies accomplished more than the recruiters could accomplish with months of classroom presentations.”

LTC Rick Emerson Battalion Commander Jacksonville Recruiting Battalion


The assembly program provided a better opportunity to reach the masses. In doing this, recruiters have a better chance to engage administrators with a message which reinforces our genuine concern for students' education and future planning. Programs such as My Real Life Tour can only strengthen our relationship with our schools.”

MAJ Dan Moore, CDR Greenville Recruiting Company


“On behalf of Pacelli High School located in Columbus, GA I would like to formally thank you and everyone else involved with the Michael Peterson event. With so much going on in the world today it is nice to see that the Army takes the time to send a positive message to today’s youth.

Michael Peterson should be commended for his efforts to share his message of trust, commitment, sacrifice and positive self-esteem. Michael is genuine; you can tell it in his expressions and in his voice, his message comes from the heart.I would like to thank everyone involved in this event and especially the United States Army for sponsoring the event and making this possible. The United States Military has accepted the mission of not only protecting our nation from enemies foreign and domestic, but also the mission as a positive role model for our society”

Chris Garner, Athletic Director Pacelli High School


“I just left the presentation that is sponsored by the ARMY and given by Michael Peterson and company and have to tell you that I am so excited about what he brought to our school!! I have been a school counselor for many years and have seen and scheduled many presentations however this presentation was indeed the best. I did a little investigation, checked out the website, TAG-You’re It, and thought that the program must be worthwhile if the ARMY was endorsing it.

I have to tell you that ALL, and I mean ALL including students, teachers, and administrators were quite pleased with the presentation. If you are looking for an AWESOME, potentially life-changing program for all that has an excellent message for all of us, please accept the ARMY’s invitation and allow them to bring it into your school. Trust me; I know first hand you will not have any regrets.

Jenny Fowler, Counselor, Southridge High School


“Michael just may have created the ultimate marriage of celebrity, passion, communication and goodwill. Armed with those tools, he is sharing his message to kids via a unique tour. He teamed up with the U.S. Army and a slew of other sponsors to create the "My Real Life- Strong for America" tour

If you're a parent, school official or just someone who wants to help inspire the youth of America to shed negativity, this is a great opportunity.

I left the tour's first stop in Knoxville, Tennessee as a renewed person. It's not brain surgery. It's nothing revolutionary. It's just a wake-up call.”

STORME WARREN – Host of GAC’s most watched program - Country Music Across America


“Be assured this Army sponsored program is shaping and changing young people’s lives at every stop. My cadets all expressed an interest in seeing Michael Peterson again and would love the opportunity to interact with him and listen to him. Michael and the entire Army team that put this together are doing a tremendous job and performing a meaningful service for our most precious resource, our youth!”

ERIC E. CARLSON, CMSgt, USAF (ret) Aerospace Science Instructor Vance High School


“I am the principal oat Greenville High School and have been associated with Greenville High for 14 years. This is by far the best assembly and program we have ever had. This is the first time that students have dome to me after an assembly to tell me how much they enjoyed the speaker, the program, and the message.

Assemblies generally cost us between $3,000 and $4,000. We were fortunate to have the Army underwrite the cost of the presentation. We would love to have Michael Peterson return to our school every year, as the message is one our students need to hear and enjoy hearing.

Instructional time is my highest priority, but this 45 minute presentation is even more valuable as an educational experience.”

JF Dalton Lucas, Jr. Principal


“The auditorium at times was so silent that you could have heard a pin drop. Students were engaged, moved and motivated….Michael’s message was well received by our students and I would recommend the program to any high school. Michael has already been invited to return to Greer High School next year if the Tour is in our area.”

Marion Waters, Principal, Greer High School


“Our faculty and students had the opportunity to attend an assembly program at our school sponsored by the U.S. Army, featuring Michael Peterson. I have been in education for 22 years and this was by far the most meaningful program I have ever attended. The powerful message presented by Michael was relevant to all of our students.

The positive impact that I could actually see on the student’s faces was awesome. Without reservation I would highly recommend this program to any school. I have no doubt that Michael will make a tremendous impact on your school and community.”

Mickey Crocker, Head Football Coach, J.L Mann High School


“Students of all ages, races and places, we’ve finally found someone who understands us”

“The burden of senior exit projects, JROTC inspections, college, work, and home life really has taken its toll. When we sat down to witness this presentation, we got up knowing someone understood.”

“Michael Peterson’s presentation is a phenomenal experience for students in High School. It’s sincerely from the heart.”

Upperclassman of E.E. Waddle High School

“The Russell County High School faculty and students are still relishing the thought of the wonderful program experienced on Thursday. The “Tag You’re It” program with Michael Peterson definitely left a positive and indelible print on this school. Please continue your worthwhile efforts and we will strive even more enthusiastically to promote the spirit expressed and shown to our students.

I would be remiss if I didn’t let you know that you are always welcome to return to Russell County High School.”

Dolores McTier, Principal, Russell County High School


I knew that I would like Michael Peterson's program because I like him as an artist and have heard his hits on country music radio over the years.

I also knew that today's kids do not all relate to the country genre and I was unsure as to what their reception would be to his program. 

As it turned out they all paid close attention to everything he said. He was able to keep the attention of our 900 high school students as well as anyone I have ever witnessed. 

He talked about real life issues with them, his own background and their future. Once it was finished, he took the time to meet each and every one of the est. 250 students that stayed behind for an autograph or simply just to talk to him and shake his hand. He was very approachable for everyone and he make them feel comfortable.

I can honestly and enthusiastically recommend this program to other high school principals and only hope that many high school students have the opportunity to be a part of it.

Richard Callahan - Principal Spring Hill High School Tennessee


Thought the program was great with a great message. Mr. Peterson does a great job of relating to the high school youth of today. Many of my students that I have talked to said it was the best they have seen.

Coach Lamm -  Spring Hill High School

Michael Peterson was outstanding. Our kids are fortunate to have been allowed to attend this assembly. The use of multi-media and updated music and video really help reach our students. They were more attentive at this assembly than any I have ever witnessed.

His real life stories and his ability to succeed in life is a real tribute to the positive influence some of the adults in his life had on him. Would love to see this program every year at the beginning and middle as a reminder to all of us that it takes time to show we care and reach out to those students that we are unaware of the difficulties they may have in their lives.


Ben White - Teacher Spring Hill High School


My students liked it. The students said he was inspiring and confirmed how they needed to go and finish college and the importance of giving back to the community. I thought the program with the students was simply great.

Lesha Napier - Teacher Spring Hill High School

I thought it was excellent on many levels. The students need positive input.  Michael Peterson is a dynamic speaker. The media was exceedingly well done and professional.

Vol Lindsey - Teacher  Spring Hill High School



Thank you so much for taking time out of your schedule to come and speak to our students at Page High School. Your words were inspirational and I hope our young people will realize that goals they make throughout life can be reached.

Debra Crowell – Staff Page High School


Hi Michael,

I just wanted to say that I really enjoyed your presentation today- and my students were all very excited about it. They said that it was nice to get a “yes do this” message instead of a “don’t do that” message that they usually get from school assemblies. Thanks for being here.

Sara Harvey - English Teacher, Page High School

Dear Michael,

I thought your presentation was great. The students were attentive and learned as they enjoyed you. I like the way you relate to them and know they were helped. One of the custodians and I were talking about Marquise earlier that morning. Your advice was just what he needed and will need to reach his goal.

God bless you as you fulfill your purpose.

Doris Robinson - Registrar Page High School Counseling Department


Mr. Peterson,

Thank you so much for your presentation at Page High School on March 19, 2010. I have heard students talking about your message all day. Your commitment to helping students move forward from their current situation to a better and more positive situation and self image is inspiring.

Marylee E. Foster - MSE Algebra 2 & Honors Algebra 2 Teacher  


Hello TAG! You’re It ! Team,

Just a brief note of thanks for visiting us on Friday!! It was one of those “magical” moments when you can feel the energy in the air…and that includes everybody! Michael’s authentic presentation seemed to have captivated our students and our staff. The personal attention he gave to every individual was phenomenal and rarely seen among speakers.

Most importantly, Michael’s message deeply impacted our students---not only in content, but also in presentation, because he spoke on the student’s level. He spoke their language. I should also add that his support group of Jill and Ryan were first class. Jill was the consummate coordinator; so willing to please; so willing to listen!

Hopefully, the individual(s) who make the funding decisions will truly realize the importance of this program and the profound, indelible impact it has on teenagers. Thanks for your time.

Richard Herzog Football Coach Page HS

Wellness Instructor / What’s Important Now (W.I.N.) Coordinator


My name is Nathan Clapp and I teach Wellness at Page High. Just wanted to shoot you an email and let you know the presentation was amazing Friday. God has truly blessed you and you can see it every time you step up to the mic. Thank you for coming to our school and making a difference.

Nathan Clapp Page High School W.I.N Instructor



I just wanted to say that it has been a pleasure working with you and Michael. I have already seen a difference in the reception and enthusiasm with those schools that Michael spoke to, even Franklin HS. Aside from assisting us with our Senior mission, I saw the students' reactions to Michael's message, and it was definitely inspiring. Thank you, and be safe with your travels overseas.


CPT Melinda Latting Nashville Co Commander


March 8, 2010

Subject: Michael Peterson – TAG You’re It School Assembly Program

Dear MG Campbell (US Army Recruiting Command),

I want to take a moment to thank you for helping make the Tag You’re It Assembly a reality for our school. I don’t know how Gallatin High School ended up on the prospective school list, but I sure am glad we did. I am so thankful that I agreed to allow Michael and Jill to offer this assembly to our students. This program was well worth the time. A number of the faculty that attended the assembly spoke very positively and were complimentary of Michael.

Our students were completely engaged during the assembly and spoke highly of Michael and his message afterwards. Sometimes in education, due to the requirements of state testing, we don’t take the time to teach the whole child. Character education and teaching life lessons have taken a back seat in many cases. Michael’s message about life and “What is real?” is a lesson well worth the time. It is a lesson that will remain with our students as they grow into adults and face the trials and tribulations of life.

In addition, Michael visited the cafeteria during our lunch periods and met with a large number of students individually. I don’t know that there was a moment that he did not have a student waiting to speak with him. He treated each of them as if they were the most important person that day. Michael finished the day encouraging some of our more “at risk” students during the last instructional class period.

Michael and Jill went above the call of duty, and it was all made possible due to your support and leadership. I want to personally thank you for allowing this program to thrive and benefit the number of youth across the country that it does. The benefits will be seen in the years to come.


Ron Becker - Principal Gallatin High School


January 14, 2010                  Subject: Letter of Recommendation

Reference: Michael Peterson

I am the principal of Ft Campbell High School, a Department of Defense School, located on Ft. Campbell, Kentucky. In November of 2009, a man of large stature wearing a big old cowboy hat and a long worn leather jacket (Michael Peterson) entered my office accompanied by a petite, vivacious lady (Jill Chambers). There was an appointment scheduled for Michael Peterson, so we went into the conference room, sat down and began a discussion that led to a school wide program that changed the lives of many of our students.

As a principal, I never know what contact, what situation, what encounter will be one of the determining factors in giving direction, support or guidance to the youth of our school. Michael Peterson’s story and delivery at a school wide assembly on December 14th touched many of our students and staff. Michael connected with many students in situation that either paralleled his issues growing up or related in such a way, that it brought the students forward to speak with Michael afterwards. He understands what the dependents of military members go through and is able to related to their feelings and situations.

I’ve been in schools where a speaker comes in, gives an address, is out the door and the school is left to piece together a program as a follow-up. This was not the case with Michael Peterson. Michael and Ms. Chambers spent the day in classrooms, speaking with individual students, sharing with the chorus his experience in the music business and helping students to look ahead and develop a plan. He gave an out brief at the end of the day to the administration team of the school on what he found, issues we did not know about.

There is a website that Michael Peterson developed and works with called “TAG! You’re It! where students can sign up and work through a series of lessons to create a plan and put in writing a direction they can travel toward in life. He is kind of “quiet and laid back”, but his message is powerful and well worth the time for students and staff of all schools to hear.

David Witte Principal


Columbia Central High School  Jan 2010 

Sarah Hulsey - Thank you so much for coming to CHS. You have inspired me. So many times I have about quit my dream but now I’m not. I’m going to go through with my dream! Thank you so much!!!

Sarah King - Thank you for coming to Columbia Central today, and what you said was extremely inspirational to everyone who attended it.

Ryan Shaw - I just have to say thank you for what you did for Columbia Central from a sophomore from that very school. Your program has touched several people's lives, mine included. I hope you continue to touch more and more of our lives, because all it takes is for one person to say you can do it, and the will to actually go out and accomplish it to succeed, so thank you!!!

Julie Long South - The program at Columbia Central today was wonderful. You really reached many kids who seldom have trouble paying attention to anything. Thanks for all you do!

Dallas Lee Yvonne Abarca - Your program really touched me today. It made me realize a lot of things in life and how careful we actually need to be in life.

Lauren Nicole Shedd - You did a great job today speaking! I was one of the students in the first session crowd in the Auditorium at Columbia Central High School. Your speech gave me some things to think about and I am glad you could come and speak to all of the students and teachers at Central


Letter to the Chief of Staff of the Army General George Casey from 5 time Principal of the Year in Chicago and leading educator - Avi Poster
How Schools benefit from programs like TAG YOU'RE IT!

Dear General Casey                                                  14  March 2008


When I was asked to reflect on and subsequently write about the possible relevance of the U.S. Army as a resource for assisting public schools with improving the quality of education, I immediately welcomed the opportunity.

I come from a dual perspective. As a 34-year veteran school administrator who understands how schools work, I have devoted my life to providing children with a well-rounded education. I am also a person who is personally committed to community service, something that in retirement I now treat as my full time job.

My experience and perspective support my total conviction that together we can make this a better world to live in. I am even more convinced that making this happen for everyone rests largely on the way we raise and teach our children.

My introduction to the strength the U.S. Army could offer as a strategic partner for public schools began when I witnessed multiple presentations of the Army sponsored “My Real Life” tour and “Tag You’re It!” student assembly experience in the spring of 2008. I saw this one of a kind platform bring together 4 elements I never dreamed I would see in a public school.

1) Over 4500 spellbound students and teachers actively engaging with live, breathtaking illusions and escapes and cutting-edge multi-media which masterfully entertained in order to educate.

2) A million selling country music star named Michael Peterson who obviously is impassioned and a highly skilled expert at the often-difficult task of grabbing and holding the attention of a highly diverse room full of teenagers for 55 minutes.

3) An authentic demonstration of the often-overlooked importance of the Army and Army values as a resource in helping educators to build strength, character, academic success and community in students.

4) Seasoned educators and students proclaiming a new openness to the Army and to Army Recruiters because they had a memorable and moving experience validating that the Army is truly interested in students for more than just “Recruiting” reasons.

Please accept my heartfelt appreciation this program and for your efforts in opening my eyes and the eyes of hundreds of educators this spring to see that the U. S. Army can and ought to be allowed to play a productive and critical role in shaping the youth of this country long before they are of service age.

As one who has devoted his life to education I can tell you, without any reservation whatsoever, that the path you are on is a credible one and one that has great potential for positively impacting the development of our young people into a productive and contributing citizenry. I salute you for this.

With tears on my heart, please let me share why public education is in a heap of trouble and why we need you so much to help us do what we are supposed to be doing.

1. Public schools in the United States are under enormous pressure to show – through improved test scores – that they are providing every student with a thorough and efficient education. On paper, the stated intention of No Child Left Behind (NCLB), the public law that currently drives what is being done in our schools, is admirable – to reverse years of failure to educate many of our inner-city and minority children and in particular, to place American students in a competitive academic place with kids from other countries. Even if we accept this law’s intent as noble, in actuality its practice is flawed and for lots of good reasons, the primary being that it is not adequately congruent with what an education needs to look like in a pluralistic, democratic country such as ours. Let me explain.

2. Education in America has inherent governance problems not seen in other countries. Our national educational system, while financially supported and influenced by a National Department of Education, is made up of 15,000 independently run school districts, and includes than 80,000 individual schools. These 80,000 schools have distinct and unique needs to address as 20,000 are in the urban core, 20,000 in the suburbs, and 40,000 are in rural or small towns. Close to 50 million kids attend public high schools alone, and more than half do not graduate. Additionally, 40% of public school kids are minority but only 10-15% of their administrators and teachers are in that category. We have 50 State Superintendents, 50 state school boards, 50 governors, 15,000 local school boards, and an influential US Department of Education and still we mistakenly talk about American Public Education as if it is one entity.

3. In fact, no country in the world educates as large, diverse and needy a populace as does ours. Most educational systems are far more homogenous, making the task of educating much easier. Because our society is so diverse, schools are called on to do much more than schools in other countries. We provide before and after school supervision, provide breakfast, lunch, snacks, sometimes dinner, teach everything in the cycle of life from sex education to driving a car, provide preschool programs, monitor vaccinations, curb drugs, eliminate obesity, prevent pregnancy, and teach fire safety and nutrition. In fact, educators do many of the things that should be the role of families, but for lots of reasons will not be.

4. We live in the most democratic, pluralistic society in the world and one that is committed to universal education for all; however, we have yet to reach consensus on what the purpose is of a public education. Every generation, including ours today, has debated the aims of education. While many will argue that schools are foremost obligated to help students acquire as much academic knowledge as they possibly can, others demand that schools be charged with providing students with a much more well-rounded experience, one that only expands the mind, but addresses the physical, moral, social, spiritual, and aesthetic development of young people as well. While some would argue that the latter should remain the responsibility of the family, others will argue that the former, without the latter, would be worthless. Truth is, in poll after poll, most Americans want our high schools to graduate students with sound character, a social conscience, the ability to think critically, with an awareness of global problems yielding to thoughtful citizens who know how to act appropriate and make wise personal and civic choices. Most of this cannot be measured by test scores

This is where the Army can play a major role … this is the part of the educational agenda programs like TAG! YOU’RE IT! and the MY REAL LIFE tour address. Americans have always believed that there are two sides to the report card, the front side that speaks to academic learning and the backside that speaks to social and emotional learning and the character development.

When you send teams into schools with assemblies like TAG! YOU’RE IT! when you engage in positive ways with young people, when you transfer the Army’s core values into the daily lives of our kids and serve as positive role models, you are contributing to helping kids acquire the critical attributes represented by the backside of the report card.

The Army is well positioned to offer what parents, teachers, and administrators want their kids to have, positive role models, strong ethics, and meaningful values. By engaging with students in our schools you can help educators teach to the whole child, not just the academic child. That is why the work you are doing with the TAG YOU’RE IT! and the MY REAL LIFE Tour programs are so critical.

Bearing all of these factors in mind I offer some additional possibilities for your consideration as you evaluate your future plans for interacting with public schools and students.

Organizational Culture

The Army stands as one of the best examples of organizational culture. Its mission is clear, the work it does in training, developing skills, and educating its members stands second to none. Those in its employ are incredibly loyal and can speak earnestly and with great conviction to the organization’s core values and creed. Public schools work hard to do the same with its staff and students, but are not as successful. Much can be shared with public schools about developing and sustaining organizational culture.


Given the fact that the Army picks up where public schools leave off, much can be done with creating more of a continuous, seamless educational direction. This can be done with far more collaboration. The Army can enhance the skills public schools teach, can provide remedial instruction for its recruits in areas they were not successful enough in, etc. In doing so, the Army could be viewed as a continuation for learning, much as Universities are. This can be the case with both the cognitive and social/emotional parts of a universal education. It is imperative that our young people be turned back into society academically skilled as well as with moral, social, spiritual, and aesthetic attributes.

An Alternative to Gang Affiliation

All children are born with great physical, cognitive, social, and emotional potential. They are also born into environments that will prevent this potential from being developed. During their lifetimes, children will move through many different environments, some encouraging, others not. All young people want the affirmation belong to something provides.

Those that are fortunate will find security in family, with friends, from teachers, on athletic teams, at church, in fraternities. Those less unable to find security in these traditional forms will find it elsewhere, on the streets or in gangs, havens that provide them with security and acceptance, but also a pathway to trouble.

The Army can be a positive environment for children at a younger age to thrive in and provide children with the encouragement they need to become the best that they can be The Army can be an extension of this and though it may take years for this kind of program to get past lawyers and nay-sayers, maybe there is some way to expand the footprint of JROTC beyond it’s current circle of influence to include students/parents who are not immediately attracted to uniforms and drills but could greatly benefit from exposure to the principles and disciplines of a successful JROTC program and discover a changed perception in the process.

In closing I want to assure you that what you are dreaming of and doing is deserving of loud applause. You can provide schools and children with just what is needed and I salute you for doing this with Michael Peterson and the My Real Life tour.

Thank you for the contributions you are making to teaching to the whole child and for sharing your much-needed resources with and for the security of our nation and the youth of our country.

If there is anything I can do to assist you with your efforts please don’t hesitate to ask.


Avi Poster