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Tuscaloosa, Alabama – Shelton State Community College student Elijah Gage Smith recently joined the United States Navy and was sworn in at a ceremony on the College’s Martin Campus on Tuesday, November 27.  Smith, a native of Tuscaloosa, Alabama, and a graduate of Paul W. Bryant High School, will depart for basic training in March 2019.


At the ceremony, Smith was awarded over $80,000 in bonuses and educational benefits that will be used to further his education.  When asked about joining the armed forces, Smith indicated that it was the realization of a dream and something he always wanted to do.  Smith also acknowledged the invaluable assistance he received through the Veterans Resource Center while a student.


“By taking courses at Shelton State, it allowed me to receive extra bonus money for college credit taken, and I will be advanced to the rank of E4 instead of starting at the rank of E1,” Smith noted.  He encouraged others to follow his lead.  “Take advantage of every opportunity, explore all options, and continue to search for the right answers.”


“It is a wonderful opportunity that students who join the armed forces have in taking advantage of being able to continue their studies abroad with tuition assistance,” stated Eric Prewitt, Veterans Resource Center Manager.  “Today is the first step in many that we are taking to ensure the future of our soldiers and SSCC for active duty personnel who are willing to continue their education.”


For more information about educational benefits for military personnel, contact Eric Prewitt at 205.391.2383 or