Even though he's a recruiter, SFC David Sollberger is deeply committed to educating Ohio's next generations.
Every school year, Sollberger and National Guard Education Liaison Brian Butcher go into high schools across northeast Ohio and teach programs that help students find their true potential.
"The National Guard has a community service aspect," Butcher said. "We promote career exploration workshops and life-skill module classes."
If a teacher chooses, Sollberger goes into classrooms and teaches lessons that are already embedded in a teacher's curriculum, he said. Each lesson is on a particular topic, such as life betterment, health and social well-being and history.
"We usually teach in 45-minute blocks," Sollberger said. "When we teach the (history) courses, they're very hands-on. When the students learn about the Civil War, we'll bring in artifacts from that time and let the kids handle them."
Sollberger and Butcher don't go into the high schools looking only for recruits. The National Guard also allows each student to take a free Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) test. The results can be plugged into a career assessment to show the student which jobs they would be better suited for so they start off on the right track when heading to college.
"This is all free for the district," Butcher said. "And there's not one word about joining the military. But it is there as an option."
"Not all students go to college right away," he said. "A lot of students fail their first year of college because of stress, because they aren't used to being away from home, etc, and they need to grow up a little bit. If they enlist in the military we want them to know that college is our No. 1 priority and we tell them that we're going to pay for your college."
Over the years, Sollberger, 45, has acted as a mentor to a countless number of students. He started his career in the Marines and served four years active duty, four years not active. Then he joined the National Guard in 1999.
"I can't count the number of kids I've mentored," he said. "They've lived everywhere from the bad parts of Cleveland to the most affluent communities. Kids are always looking for a second opinion on things and I'm here to help them with that."
Besides teaching classes, the Guard also provides district with free supplies such as day planners for the football team.