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