Naval destroyer crew members give students a lesson in leadership

WATERBURY -- It could be called a textbook lesson on how to promote teamwork, that was the aim of the event at Waterbury’s Kennedy High School.

In the school auditorium, student athletes gathered to meet and listen to four members of the crew from the USS Stethem, a destroyer named for sailor Robert Stethem, a navy diver, Bronze Star recipient, and Waterbury resident who was killed during the hijacking of TWA flight 847 in 1985.

The theme was relating what the crew members on the USS Stethem do to what the Kennedy High athletes do on the field. Commander Jeff Benson, the Commanding Officer of the USS Stethem said, “Robbie (Stethem) made the ultimate sacrifice and being a part of a team you have to be selfless on the field and off the field to be a good teammate.”

The message seemed to resonate with the students, who listened and watched a memorial video about Stethem. Hannah West, a senior on the volleyball team said, “I feel like the message was if you don’t work together as a team you’re not going to get anything done successfully.” The crew from the USS Stethem traveled to Connecticut from their base in Yokosuka, Japan. On Tuesday, they are scheduled to speak with college students from Post University in Waterbury.

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