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Career Day Highlights Futures on the High Seas

Mar. 9, 2007 — Together with the crew of the Roseway's World Ocean School, Troy Billington of the Boys and Girls Club, hopes to reach high school students and show them that their future careers can really take off on the high seas.
With that in mind, he recently invited representatives from various maritime fields to a career day workshop.
"I have lost a lot of kids to death and prison," Billington said. "I lost one in jail so I decided to do something." Working with many of the island's youth through the club, Billington has tried to encourage the next generation to expand its horizons. "I thought, 'Let's expand the club to the sea and teach sailing and fishing.'"
Keeping with his desire to expose young people to the multitude of opportunities awaiting them, Billington teamed up with the World Ocean School, a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing educational programs aboard the historic schooner Roseway.
According to Executive Director Abby Kidder, the school was "established to provide challenging educational programs for youth and adults around the world by fostering an appreciation for, and obligation to, community and relationships; developing a deep commitment to ethical values; and cultivating an expanded worldview." Billington wanted to take the idea one step further highlighting other careers at sea, so he organized a career day aboard the schooner.
On a cool Thursday evening a handful of students and curious passersby stood patiently learning of the different career opportunities enforcing and maintaining the laws of the sea. Representatives from the V.I. Police Department's Blue Lightning Strike Force, DPNR's Enforcement Division and the Department of Parks and Recreation were on hand teaching onlookers about safety and the requirements necessary to have a career in maritime law enforcement.
To become a DPNR enforcement officer, basic police department training is required, according to Officer Roland Moolenar. Interested individuals must apply at the Department of Personnel and be persistent in securing their position. Moolenar was representing the division required to enforce the rules and regulations put forth by the 11 divisions within DPNR.
Moolenar explained to the small audience the different safety measures that can be used while at sea, including an exploration of the varieties of life vests and flares. Moolenar also gave onlookers a firsthand demonstration of the affects of alcohol. Lesean Payne, an 18-year-old UVI student, tried on the "fatal vision" goggles, a tool used by the division to simulate the impaired vision of an inebriated individual. Payne said the goggles made him "feel dizzy."
Career day visitors were allowed a chance to board two vessels (from DPNR and VIPD) used to protect the seas surrounding the islands in order to learn of the navigation tools and uses for the boat.
Lt. Benjamin Rios, part of the Blue Lightning Strike Force, explained that the division's role is to ensure the seas are not used for trafficking illegal substances — on or off the islands. "We're pretty busy," Rios said, adding the division patrols the seas, constantly checking suspicious vessels before allowing them too close or far from the islands.
According to Billington, the force's vessel is one of the fastest boats in the islands. Rios would not agree or disagree with Billington's statement, he only said the boat was "fast enough." Rios told students that the path to a position with the force is through the police department. After three years on patrol, Rios said, an officer can apply for a transfer to the department.
Rios said he wanted to be a police officer for a long time. "I used to wash the motorcycle [of a neighbor]," Rios said. His neighbor was the then police chief, and he idolized both the man and the machine. "He used to give us rides," Rios said.
Morisa Jagrup, a 17-year-old St. Croix Educational Complex student, said she came to the event because "it was something new." Jagrup was intrigued by the vast opportunities a career at sea could bring. She said she would take what she learned and present it to her friends that are interested in marine life, who were unable to join her. She said more students would be interested in attending events like career day if they were more informed.
Billington said all he could ask for is that some students attend and come back because he wants to have career days like this one regularly.
For more information on Roseway and World Ocean School, contact Abby Kidder at 617-443-4841 or visit the school's website.
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