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Seniors plan military futures

Many graduates of West Lincoln High School’s JROTC program have decided the military is the life for them.
“It’s a guaranteed job, somewhere to live, three meals a day and an education if I want it,” said Joshua Grimes, who has enlisted in the Marine Corps.
The eight men and women enlisting also mentioned patriotism and a love of travel.
“I want to see the world,” said Roger Thrift, who is joining the Navy. “I always like to go new places and learn about new cultures, and I always love to eat, and I love new food.”
The future soldiers seem ready to leave school and start their new lives. The nerves will come later.
“I am ready to go,” said Grimes of school. “I have done my time.”
Many of the new recruits joined the high school’s JROTC program because they already had the military in mind.
Chief Bill Shipley, one of the program’s teachers, can spot the students with a future in the armed forces.
“It’s the demeanor, how much they get involved in the program,” he said.
Some students state their plans on the first day of school. Others use the class as a way to investigate the idea.
“It taught me a lot about the military,” said Grimes. “Commander (Karl) Jordan and Chief Shipley, they tell you anything you want to know.”
The two teachers emphasize that they’re not recruiters. They point out both the benefits and drawbacks of a military life to their students.
“We show them both sides,” said Lt. Cmdr. Jordan.
Once students have made a decision, however, the teachers make sure to help them along their chosen path.
“We try to give them guidance once they say that’s what they want to do,” said Jordan.
The men emphasize higher education and being a good citizen.
“We teach life skills that they can use anywhere, whether they want to go into the military or not,” said Shipley.
by Sarah Grano

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