Day In The Life: American Pride
Getting the mail, Deborah Gonçalves (’18) notices a business-like envelope addressed to her. The sender is Envision Experience, a company that provides high school students opportunities to explore future career paths in camp-like programs. Gonçalves’ training will be with the National Security Agency.
“I went in under the human intelligence field, I got to go to the international spy museum where we did a thing called ‘operation spy’ where they make it seem like you’re an actual CIA agent,” Gonçalves said. “A lot of what they tried to put in our head was the human side of the CIA because it’s a clandestine agency where everyone’s like ‘oh they’re the killers- cold blooded spies.'”
Gonçalves also learned about the nature of the threat of terrorism. The usefulness of the Department of Homeland Security was put into perspective for Gonçalves.
“The biggest thing that left an impact on me was the guy from homeland security. They listed dates that, to us, would just be regular dates, I think it was July 28, 2008. It’s like ‘Oh what was I doing that day?’ but this was an actual terrorist attack that they were able to stop.” Gonçalves said.
Gonçalves went through a simulation during the program as a cartel with the executive branch, the diplomats and the intelligence. The goal of the simulation was to teach them how to react in a crisis.
“How we’re supposed to react is not easy, but you do come back with a sense of patriotism because you see your country, you see what were going through now, like the Belgium attacks where ISIS claimed responsibility.” Gonçalves said. “I’ve never really been a big fan of us patrolling the world as the world’s cop, but you begin to see a need to do this and go out there.”
Participating in this program has taught Gonçalves to have a sense of American pride and what it really means to be and to live in America.
“We have so much freedom,” she said. “Yeah, we might have problems, we might have a horrible political system, but you still have a urge to protect the place you’re at because if it’s not for that, we wouldn’t be here.”