Seniors engage in Civic Service

As the conclusion of senior year nears, seniors will take their first steps on their diverging paths. Many will go to a post-secondary institution, some will branch off into the workforce and a select few will enlist in the armed forces.

Senior Ryan Hornickel gets ready to march into the Army.

Seniors Ryan Hornickel and Kyle Gonzales will take on the Army regime while Senior Haleigh Baird will take flight with the Air Force. Hornickel and Gonzales hope to grow as individuals, enhance communication skills and adopt a skill set specific to militia order. Baird aspires to increase the communication between civilian and military while in the services, acquire professional skills as well as increase her confidence and public speaking skills.

Many influences, from JROTC to familial expectations, have led them to this decision to enlist in civil service. Civil service runs in the Gonzalez and Baird family and this contributed to their desire to follow in the footsteps of their family. Hornickel was influenced primarily by the desire to serve his nation and the incentives that are offered by the military for collegiate studies.  

Gonzales and Hornickel are enlisted in the Army where they will specialize in infantry and military vehicles, respectively. Gonzales is scheduled to attend boot camp on August 6, 2019  in Georgia. Hornickel attended a ten week boot camp over the summer at Fort Jackson in South Carolina. Following graduation, Hornickel will begin as an active member in the armed forces undergoing specialized training to become a vehicle specialist.

Hornickel recalls his experience: “It was a physically and mentally grueling ten weeks and it was one of the toughest experiences of my life, but I am happy to have accomplished it.”

As Gonzales prepares for his boot camp experience, he commented that he hopes to gain “experience, a skill set, and a team mentality.”

They understand that the experiences that they will have during their service will be unprecedented but they are looking forward to bettering themselves and their society.

Senior Haleigh Baird plans to soars into the Air Force.

Baird has enlisted in the Air Force where she aspires to follow in the footsteps of her family members through the guidance of her commanding officers. JROTC was a major contributor to her decision to enlist because the program taught her that the definition of a leader is malleable and that she has the qualities essential to becoming a leader. She will attend an eight week boot camp over the summer but the date has yet to be announced. In the meanwhile, her father has prepared her for the boot camp experience.

Baird commented that she chose to become a photo journalist for the Air Force because she wants to “establish a greater sense of transparency and aid in personalizing her branch as well as the other branches.”

For students on the verge of joining the civic services, several recruiters reached out to offer a statement. Both Sergeant Foster and Staff Sergeant Kiczenski urge students to reach out before making the decision and that they are excited to hear from each and every student that aspires to join the forces.

Sergeant Foster of the United States Army Corps urged students to “take the time to talk to recruiters and make an informed decision. The Army has over one hundred available jobs that could be specific to the student but many are unaware that they exist. The Army is the largest branch and the fastest promotion branch, but above that, the Army offers temporary reservation in their desired field, provided they are medically qualified, in order to ensure they are a suitable fit.”

Senior Kyle Gonzales is going into the Army after graduation.

For those who wish to take flight with the Air Force in the future, Staff Sergeant Kiczenski of the United States Air Force commented that “students interested in the Air Force will attend a mandatory eight week military training followed by a technical training designed to specialize them in a timely manner. In addition to the training, the Air Force offers a month long paid vacation coupled with international travel and up to a full ride scholarship for  off-duty students who wish to obtain further education outside of the Air Force.”

As the trio heads to combat, either directly or indirectly, they prepare to serve our nation and honor the Hiller cadet!