SACKETS HARBOR – A military child, Deseree Y. Matthews attended Sackets Harbor Central School for about a month in kindergarten before her family was stationed in Hohenfels, Germany, for a few years; return to third grade and continue with the district until graduation from high school. Following his family history of military service, Deseree joined the Air Force in hopes of eventually working in an intelligence position.
Excited about her graduation, Deseree said her family, which is quite scattered, will come together for the first time in about 10 years to celebrate her achievement. She looks forward to spending time with them before leaving for Texas for basic training on July 12. When she leaves, she said those she met during her time with Sackets will be what she will miss the most.
“We live pretty close to Fort Drum where there are always people coming and going,” she said. “I made some good friends, we had some memorable class trips and all that. I think I remember people the most because we have such a diverse class, there are so many different types of people, but overall we fit together well.
Deseree will spend two months undergoing basic training before a 64-week course at the Defense Language Institute in Monterey, Calif., for Korean. The Defense Language Institute is an educational and research institution of the United States Department of Defense comprised of two separate entities that provide language and cultural education to the Department of Defense, other federal agencies, and numerous customers around the world. She will receive lessons in reading, writing and speaking Korean, as well as cultural aspects.
After that, she will go through a three to six month program to learn more about the intelligence side of things in order to eventually become a cryptographic language analyst.
“From there, that’s when I’m really going to work, so it’s kind of like I’m still studying, I was going to like a university, but it’s through the Air Force,” she said. “I will probably use the language I learned to talk to people overseas and get information for the US government. I would love to be stationed in Korea, of course, because I’m leaving for Korean.
She said she would be looking for opportunities to travel and expand her understanding of the culture, learning firsthand. Although her father, Donald B. Matthews, Jr. was in the military for 24 years, achieving the rank of master sergeant before his retirement, and she was partially influenced by his military career, she was not originally not sure she wanted to join the military as she tends to be a bit strict and is a very creative person.
A few years ago, Deseree joined a South Korean boy band called BTS. This spring, she traveled to Las Vegas to see the band in person, her first gig. The group really stuck with the idea of Korean, pushing her to learn the language on her own.
“I can speak, read and write,” she said. “I’m not very good at conversation, obviously, because I didn’t speak to many people in Korean, but I did a good job on my own. Seeing the hard work I put in, as well that the encouragement of my parents, really put me on this path.