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High School

Arlington High is a middle class school with a diverse student population and I’m proud to have become an alumnus in the Spring of 1990. Unlike popular film characatures of high school, I found my time as an “Arlington Colt” to be engaging and productive. I had many friends in all the common cliques from cheerleaders to jocks to the drama club and band to the D&D and science geeks. Even today, I regularly hang out with close friends I met in junior and senior high school.

While I participated in many extra-curricular activities, I became very active in the TX 31st Air Force JROTC program under the guidance of COL Ivy J. McCoy (USAF, Ret.) and SMSGT Clamp H. Lawley (USAF, Ret.). Both men served in Vietnam and they made an immensely positive impact on me. “Colonel” and “Sarge” taught me principles of leadership and eventually promoted me to the highest post position, Squadron Commander. I traveled extensively via the program, won national award recognition, represented our school to the community and presented our nation’s colors to hundreds of thousands of spectators, thanks in part to our All State football team.

The AFJROTC program offered me wonderful opportunities unique to any high school student. My first airplane ride was in a KC-135 refueling aircraft during the spring of 1991. We took off from Carswell AFB in Fort Worth and rendezvoused with a B-1 Bomber over Topeka, Kansas. I climbed down in the tail boom during refueling and waved at the B-1 pilots. It was quite a way to experience flying for the first time.

Air Force JROTC also led me to competitive summer leadership schools at Lackland AFB and Barksdale AFB. Through these programs, I met students from all over the United States. I learned advanced leadership values which enabled me to excel to top cadet honors. I also toured fascinating business and military sites like fighter and transport aircraft, support facilities, weapons deployment facilities, the base PX and a General Motors auto manufacturing plant.

Obviously, I’m a big fan of well-run ROTC programs in American high schools. They provide incredible opportunities to build skills in teamwork, competition, communications, self sufficiency, achievement and self confidence. In college, I continued to support JROTC programs as a member of the precision drill unit, the Sam Houston Rifles. We regularly judged local drill competitions and hosted an annual Summer Drill clinic for hundreds of JROTC cadets from all over the southwest. I still occasionally serve as a meet coordinator for JROTC competitions.

NEXT: The School of Hard Knocks

About Me

I am an executive-level interactive producer specializing in social media, online community management and buzz marketing for national accounts. I provide agency support & client service across multiple industries. I love integrated campaign strategy, working with creative teams, kicking-off projects and driving them through launch.

I am currently working at Charles Schwab in Austin, Texas.

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Left Brain
SEO, media strategy, web analytics, web application architecture, server architecture, e-commerce platforms, data modeling
  Right Brain
SEM, creative strategy, social media, community management, WOM / buzz marketing, online memes, online brand stewardship

Contact Shannon

Shannon Swenson
Austin, Texas
512-472-3090 x1

hello [at] shannonswenson [dot] com