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Leadership Spotlight: Student Jalynn Charley
Posted On:
Wednesday, February 21, 2018

24-Feb-2018 (HHS) - Few people ever go up in a plane only to jump out.  However, that’s just what Hoover High School senior Jalynn Charley plans to be doing after high school graduation.  As a newly-minted enlistee in the Alabama Army National Guard, Jalynn will train as a combat videographer.  What do combat videographers do? Among other things, they record video as they parachute out of military aircraft. 

“Just thinking about my future, I wanted to do something bigger than me - do something else that I knew no one else was doing and put life into perspective,” Jalynn said.

Jalynn was sworn in as an E-1 Private in the Alabama Army National Guard in November 2017.  Following her May 2018 graduation, she will travel between and among many states to ramp up her training.  This includes stops in Fort Jackson, South Carolina; Fort Meade, Maryland; and Fort Benning, Georgia.  Jalynn looks forward to being “airborne-certified.”

Originally, she was set on digital photography.  After learning those classes would not align with her schedule, she shifted to videography.

“Something told me to look into other jobs that are similar and related to digital photography.”

Using video to capture critical airborne missions isn’t for everyone; however, Jalynn looks forward to the challenge - one which will pave the way for other opportunities in the years to come.

“The more I researched, I discovered the National Guard was so much more.  They have a job for any and everything.  [The Guard] serves Alabama and protects the homefront and can be called to serve in times of natural disaster. It’s not about you; it’s about your battle buddy, your seargent, the United States.”

Moreover, the Guard provides full medical benefits and will cover 100% of Jalynn’s college tuition, she said.  Hoover High School College and Career Specialist Cindy Bond, who helps guide students on their post-high school choices, considers Jalynn a shining example of “opportunities taken.”

“She is bold and courageous.  Because this is a non-traditional path to college, she will have opportunities the normal citizen would never have because of this commitment she’s willing to make at 18,” Bond said.

Family means everything to Jalynn Charley.  They have helped shape her character and supported her dreams each step of the way.  At her enlistment ceremony, Jalynn knew she had made the right choice - both for her and her family.

“I did not want my mom to have to pay for everything.  This decision has made me calm, brought me peace.  The character benefits that [this experience] will instill in me - that’s it right there.  This is one of the best decisions I could have made.”

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