Seniors celebrate military signing day

As every school year winds down, the majority of seniors prepare to begin their adult lives where they will be going off to pursue some form of higher education. For a select few though, they prepare to take on the challenge of becoming one of the country’s service members.

These are the people that events like the military signing ceremony held last Wednesday, May 10, aim to celebrate. The event saw seven of our school’s seniors making the contractual agreement to serve in one of the country’s six service branches.

“I really want them to know how proud we are of them. They’re making a commitment just like any other student makes a commitment to college or to anywhere,” Dr. Emily Jessee, the school’s career development coordinator, and this event’s organizer, explained.

The event, which was held annually before the pandemic, took place on a much smaller scale this year. 

“I think we do have some ideas of what we can do for next year that would make it a stronger event,” commented Dr. Jessee. “If the program grows and gets bigger, then we can have more students show up, and come, and be there,” she finished.

The reasons these students have for enlisting and what they will be doing in the military are as varied as the lives they live now. 

Anthony Forzaglia, who many fellow students might know as the lead singer for the HapyValy band that played at prom this year, is enlisting in the Army as a horizontal construction engineer under an eight-year contract.

“Both of my sisters have crazy debt from college, so I wanted to avoid that,” Forzaglia reasoned, before continuing, “My grandad served, and I’ve heard it’s one of the best things you can do, for the discipline and the brotherhood you form.”

Kyle VanSteenbergen, who works at Chick-Fil-A and plays tuba for the school band, is enlisting in the Marine Corps as combat support, working with artillery under a contract also totaling eight years.

“Creating a legacy for myself, wanting to have something for my name to be remembered by, and my service mainly to my family as well as the people that I know and care for,” VanSteenbergen stated as his reason for enlisting before adding, “Also just to do something different with my life, and have a new adventure.” 

Brendan Johnson, who plays rugby and wrestles when he’s not helping out his mom with her business, will be enlisting in the Navy for nuclear engineering under a contract totaling six years.

“My biggest reason is I don’t want to go to college. Then I have a lot of family background in the military. My father was in the Navy. Both of my grandfathers, one was in the Air Force, one was in the Army,” Johnson elaborated, “No one’s making me, that’s just still a part of it. I’m just ready to do something, and that’s just giving me the easiest way to do it.” He also added that service with the Navy would allow him to travel and see the world.

When only one percent of citizens ever rise to the calling, it is of great importance to recognize, to show our appreciation for these people, our peers, who no matter their backgrounds, are going on to be a part of that one percent, and one way or another, give up so much for us in doing so.