New call to serve

After Navy stint, a classroom gig

CHARLES TOWN — James Knapp Jr. has never been far from service.

[cleeng_content id="354768821" description="Read it now!" price="0.15" t="article"]An educator before joining the Navy in 1982, Knapp has returned to teaching under the Troops to Teacher program, leading chemistry and physical science classes for juniors and seniors at Jefferson High.

“One of the things that appeal to me is, being around young people you never grow old,” he said.

James E. Knapp Jr. has returned to the classroom under the Troops to Teacher program, which helps retired veterans find jobs in education. He’s teaching chemistry and physical science at Jefferson High School.

James E. Knapp Jr. has returned to the classroom under the Troops to Teacher program, which helps retired veterans find jobs in education. He’s teaching chemistry and physical science at Jefferson High School.

Troops to Teachers was established to help veterans pursue a career after military service. Before he joined the military, Knapp taught at schools in Virginia and West Virginia, including a stint at Wildwood Middle School.

His military service included assignments on a number of ships, including the aircraft carrier, the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower. He served as chief of staff for an admiral and completed 10½ years sea duty, earning a number of personal awards along the way.

He said he can now share with students what he has learned.

“I feel that my military experience can help students,” he said. “There is probably nothing I haven’t dealt with. By some way, my experience could apply to the challenges young people have today.”

Jefferson High Principal Howard Guth said Knapp is a hit with teens. “The students like him,” he said. “Because he was in the service he is very diligent and has a good work ethic.”

Knapp said he enjoys watching his young charges mature. “The younger generation is really wanting to serve America and do something with their lives,” he said. “They are really dedicated once they find something that peaks their interests.”

If he were to offer advice to students, Knapp said he’d urge them to believe in themselves and to remain committed to whatever they believe in.

“Allow other peoples opinions to be voiced, but make your own decisions on what you have learned,” he said. “You learn more by making a small mistake than always being right.”



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