NORTH PLAINFIELD, NJ - As the school year comes to an end, seniors might be left wondering what they’re going to do in the future. Some may choose work, others may choose to go to a university, but some honorable students choose to enlist in the military.
North Plainfield High School senior, Victor Gomez, who is enlisting in the Army, said, “It’s always something I’ve wanted to do. I wanted to prove to myself that I could do something bigger than me, make a change in the world because when people are on their deathbed, they don’t regret what they did, they regret what they didn’t do. I wanted to do something that’s gonna change me as a person and into a better individual.”
On June 6, 2019, the 75th anniversary of D-Day, six North Plainfield High School seniors committed to serving in various branches of the United States military. The event was held in the North Plainfield High School auditorium at 8:15 AM. The ceremony kicked off with the presentation of colors, presented by Christina Aguilar, Ashley Dawson, Julissa Jacome, and Daisy Cifuentes, and the singing of the National Anthem, performed by Mckenna Dougherty and Sophia Castilla. Attending the event were the members of the NJROTC, Lt. Col Hansen, Chief Flaville, families of the enlistees, recruiters, Principal, Dr. Jerard Stephenson, and Superintendent Michelle Vella.
The Army enlistees are Victor Gomez (active duty), Caterine Paredes (reserves), and Jonathan Galvez-Hernandez (reserves). The Marine enlistees are Jonathan Guardado-San Jose (active duty), Vladimir Menendez (reserves), and Nicholas Lepak (active duty).
“I always had a dream about it since I was a little kid. I was never really sure what I wanted to do until now, and then last year I made my official decision that that’s what I wanted to pursue, the military,” said Jonathan Guardado-San Jose says about his decision to enlist.
Organizing the ceremony was Mr. Del Priore, a commissioned officer in the United States Air Force Reserves. He is also a social studies teacher in North Plainfield High School. Recruiters from the U.S. Army Sergeant First Class Williams, and Sergeant First Class Rhone, along with recruiters from the U.S. Marines Staff Sergeant Rodriguez and Staff Sergeant Builes, and Del Priore gave the enlistees some tips for their future.
“There are three things to take with you when you go to basic training. One. Be on time. Two. Be in the proper uniform. And three. Keep your mouth shut and don’t quit, whatever you do,” said Sergeant First Class Williams.
The students were told to sign their letters of intent. They all did so, with ease. After it was signed, Del Priore awarded the enlistees honor cords. These cords are to be worn during their high school graduation.
“I’m excited. I start one month after graduation, so perfect timing,” Victor Gomez said.
There are many emotions that come with the decision to enlist. Some may be anxious, but others are overjoyed.
“I’m nervous a little bit because you don’t really know what to expect until you get there. You can hear a lot of things about it but you don’t know the real feel. But then again, I’m excited because I’ll be able to call myself a U.S. Marine which not a lot of people get to do,” said Jonathan Guardado-San Jose.
For more, including video of the event see here
North Plainfield Students Sign Military Letters of Intent on 75th Anniversary of D-Day