NEWBERRY — A fifth grade teacher appeared on a most wanted photograph, projected across the Newberry Elementary Auditorium; but that phony picture was just part of the introduction as Kelvin Washington, the U.S. Marshall District of South Carolina and his chief deputy, Tom Henman, got students’ attention for a talk at Newberry Elementary School.
The men gave NES students a broad overview of the U.S. Marshals program, the oldest Federal Law Enforcement agency, dating to 1789. The agency began with 13 marshals appointed by George Washington, currently there are 94 U.S. Marshals, each of whom is appointed by the president of the United States. Students learned of the rigors of the marshal training academy, sort of a college experience and boot camp combined, according to Henman and Washington. They explained about firearm training, defensive tactics and high-speed driving training.
They explained other aspects of marshal duties such as fugitive operations, judicial security and witness security protection. Washington shared his career arc including time as an investigator, a narcotics officer and as a sheriff. He was appointed as U.S. Marshal by President Barack Obama. The vetting process for the appointment, even with his history of public service, took about a year to complete. It was that process Washington focused on as he spoke.
He called on students to have self-discipline and resist peer pressure. He shared how his mother and grandmother raised him to work hard and study hard. Washington mentioned how the students will be competing with people all over the world for jobs and opportunities, so they need to make sure to make the most of each day to learn and grow. Manners, respect and value of education also were themes he shared.
NES Principal Reggie Wicker mentioned how the character the marshals represent is part of the NES mission to educate the entire child and part of NES’ mission as a 21st Century School. He encouraged all the NES students to work hard and make wise choices, choices that are part of the school mantra to accept nothing less than the best at NES.