Oxford Hills veteran speaks to fourth-graders

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Lynda Knowlton, left, a veteran of the U.S. Army and a law enforcement and military prep teacher at Oxford Hills Comprehensive High School, speaks to pupils in Marsha Wood’s fourth-grade class at Guy E. Rowe Elementary School on Friday.

PARIS — An Army veteran who teaches law enforcement and military prep at Oxford Hills Comprehensive High School spoke to fourth-graders November 9 about her military experience.

Lynda Knowlton visited Marsha Wood’s classroom at Guy E. Rowe Elementary School.

Knowlton, who was accompanied by ten of her high school students, said she served for five years in the U.S. Army with the military police during Desert Storm, reaching the rank of captain.

“Near the end of that fifth year, I decided to get out because I had an 18-month-old child and a six-week-old child,” Knowlton said.

After leaving the Army, she took a job teaching fourth-graders at an elementary school in Texas.

“I took a teaching job because the schedule matched my kids’ schedules,” Knowlton said.

Knowlton later took a teaching job at Oxford Hills Comprehensive High School as a law enforcement teacher and has been there for the past 22 years.

In 2016, Knowlton said that the school decided to broaden the scope of the class to military prep.

“I teach leadership to students who are interested in joining the military or law enforcement,” Knowlton said. “A lot of students are leaning one way or the other and aren’t sure which one they want to do. I go over morals, values and ethics with the students and go over drills, so that they can be a step ahead of other people going into basic training.”

The 10 students who visited Wood’s classroom with Knowlton — eight boys and two girls, ranging from sophomores to seniors — told the fourth-graders what they wanted to do after graduating.

Several of Knowlton’s high school students expressed an interest in becoming canine officers, and one girl said she wanted to be on the U.S. Army front line.

Knowlton told the fourth-graders that she began her stint in the military mere seconds after graduating from ROTC.

“I walked across the stage and got my diploma, and they told me that my unit would be shipping out to Saudi Arabia,” Knowlton said.

One student asked Knowlton, on a scale of one to 10, how scared she was while overseas.

“Oh, a 10,” Knowlton quickly answered. “I wasn’t just worried about myself, but the 33 soldiers that I was in charge of, and the $2.3 million of equipment that I had to oversee. It was a big responsibility.”

Another student asked if all 33 soldiers she was responsible for made it home.

“Yes, they all made it back,” she replied. “It was scary, but if I had to do it again, I would, because we had an important job to do there.”

Before leaving, Knowlton told the fourth-graders that if they see a veteran or someone in a military uniform on Veterans Day on Sunday, “make sure to thank them for their service.”

“There are a lot of people who have worked to save this country and have sacrificed a lot,” Knowlton said. “It’s important to give them your thanks.”

mdaigle@sunmediagroup.net