Olympic counselor aims high

Les Brooks has always considered himself a bit of an “adventurer” in life. So, it is not a big a surprise that the high school guidance counselor also lives a double life as a U.S. Air Force Reserve.  

The guidance counselor, who works at the School of Biotechnology, Health and Public Administration at Olympic High School, has been employed with Olympic since Jan. 2005. He first enlisted in the U.S. Air Force Reserves during the 80’s, when he was an undergraduate student at the University of Montevallo in Alabama. Les said enlisting was a way to help pay for college. However, he then re-enlisted in 2003, at the age of 43, to fulfill wanderlust in his heart.

“People thought I was crazy to re-enlist at my age, but I wanted to be able to contribute to the War in Iraq. I needed to feel like I could contribute something,” said Brooks.

With a military background and both a bachelor’s and a master’s degree, Brooks is well-equipped to provide a unique perspective to students, giving them options for a career after high school.  

“I always thought I had a lot to offer students,” said Brooks. “I have a perspective on how things work in the workforce, higher education, secondary education and the military. I always loved learning and guiding others.”

Brooks has had his share of experiences in the military – some good and others not so good. He said he remembers seeing rocket attacks in Afghanistan, transporting Iraqi prisoners from Guantanamo Bay and working in security forces in Saudi Arabia. However, one of his most treasured experiences was on Christmas morning last year in Afghanistan. Olympic students and staff had a box of treats delivered to his military base for him and his unit.

“All the guys received something on Christmas morning. It was just so special and we weren’t expecting it,” said Brooks.

Brooks said the most important thing to remember about his experience though is that being in the military isn’t for everyone.

“It is a professional position. You have to orientate yourself and prepare mentally and physically,” he said. “I tell my students that it is a rough experience, but it is very rewarding. I am fortunate to be able to serve our country, but it is not for everyone.”