BY PHIL CUSTODIO, Clarkston News Editor
Friends and family gathered, May 8, to honor five graduating seniors heading for military service.
Owen Alexander earned a full Navy Reserve Officers' Training Corps, ROTC, scholarship at University of Michigan to study physics and space engineering. He will serve as an officer in the U.S. Marine Corps.
"It's a big honor to serve my country – it's bigger than myself," Alexander said.
Cody Dellinger, already a Private First Class in the U.S. Army, will serve in the Ohio National Guard, continuing a family tradition of military service while pursuing his education with a 100 percent scholarship.
Edmond Ketzler signed up to be a musician in the United States Marine Corps Band.
"When I heard about it, I applied right away," said Ketzler, who spent many evenings practicing for three video auditions and three in-person auditions. "This is a way to serve by doing something I love."
Sydney Vanbuskirk earned a full Army ROTC scholarship to Michigan State University. She is also upholding a family tradition, representing the sixth generation of her family serving in the Army.
She earned a full scholarship to study the medical field of psychology while pursuing her commission.
Ian Wilson will serve in the Air Force in satellite intelligence, with plans to become a Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape (SERE) specialist and teach survival skills to special operations troops.
The ceremony was organized by Dep. Frank Gavey, school liaison officer who served in the Marine Corps from 1990-1994.
"I wanted to do something for the kids, to recognize them and their parents and grandparents," said Gavey, who served in the infantry specializing in Dragon missiles and LAW and SMAW rockets in Japan, Guam, Singapore, Thailand, and S. Korea, then as a deputy with the Oakland County Sheriff's Office for 17 years. "There are a lot of proud grandparents here."
One was Brenda Alexander, attending in honor of Owen, her fourth grandson entering the service.
"I'm very proud of him," said Brenda, who has two grandsons in in the Air Force and another in the Marines.
High school Principal Gary Kaul was impressed with the opportunity for service the military offers to young people.
"There's no greater service than service to your country," Kaul said. "Nothing is as important as what you are going to be doing over the next several years and perhaps as a career in the armed services."
"This is what it's about, the commitment and desire to serve their country," said Superintendent Shawn Ryan. "I'm very proud of them."
About Clarkston Community Schools: Clarkston is a highly regarded school district with an enrollment of nearly 8,000 students. We have seven elementary schools (K-5), one middle school serving grades 6-7, one junior high for grades 8-9, and Clarkston High School, which serves students in grades 10-12. We also have an Early Childhood Center serving children ages 3-5, and an alternative high school/community education facility. Each Clarkston Community Schools' student is fully engaged in a globally focused education, from preschool through graduation, that fosters in students a sense of self, perspective, responsibility/ownership, and contribution. The mission of Clarkston Community Schools is to cultivate thinkers, learners and positive contributors to a global society.
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