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Military Signing at Wheeling Park

Wheeling+Park+students+that+enlisted+are+joined+by+the+recruitment+officers.+%0A%0APhoto+Taken+by+Jozalin+Gonzalez
Jozalin “Izzy” Gonzalez
Wheeling Park students that enlisted are joined by the recruitment officers. Photo Taken by Jozalin Gonzalez

Wheeling Park hosted its very own Military Signing Ceremony to recognize for the students that decided to enlist.

Mrs. Mathieu decided last year that if Wheeling Park was really going to celebrate and recognize all of the students, then she should do something for the students that enlisted.

“I start planning, communicating with all of the representatives, and anyone that is enlisting, in January. It took an hour to actually set up in the morning though. I make sure to have everything together, including gathering all of the people that are enlisting, all principals, board members, and people at central office. Make sure all my reps can be there, get the program and invites. Mrs. Dailer was able to provide refreshments through the patriot cafe for everyone,” said Mrs. Mathieu about all of the factors that go into recognizing these students.

Mathieu also thinks its important for students to know that the military is more than just working on the front lines and risking ones life. There are opportunities completely unrelated to the front lines.

Not only was there a Military Fair, that was held during all lunches the week before the celebration, but the school has a military career council, Staff Sargent Gump. She has helped several students enlist.

“I assisted Adam Carman last June on his enlistment into the West Virginia Army National Guard and am currently helping Patrick “PJ” Vitale and Addison Mudge with their military journey. Since I took this position I have enlisted 14 Wheeling Park High School students/grads,” said Sargent Gump.

Both “PJ” Vitale and Addison Mudge plan to go into the Army National Guard to be electricians.

“I signed with Staff Sargent Gump, into the Army National Guard. Well she’s the one who took me to take my ASVAB and I also don’t want to serve full time. There’s other things I wanna do besides full military. Which there’s nothing wrong with doing that. It’s just not for me. I’d like to be an electrician but not just for the military. I plan to go to trade school, it’ll get paid for, and I’ll be an electrician like I wanna be. College just wasn’t an option before this, and now it is. Which is great for me,” said Vitale.

“I signed with the National Guard. It just seemed like the best option for what I’m trying to do in life and they have a lot of opportunities that definitely open up a good bit of doors for me. I want to be an electrician, and so they have a program that I can work as an electrician, in the guard that’ll transfer outside of the guard if need be. A good bit of friends are in the National Guard, and just talking with Sargent Gump, and working on things. Talking about all of the things that they offer. I’ll probably be with the military for six years, and if I decide to continue I’ll probably just resign. But my plan is to join the electricians union. Doing bigger projects and buildings,” said Mudge.

Wheeling Park also has a few veterans who actually work for the school. Such as Mrs. Erin Bowers, who can be found in the Tech 2 room

“From 1986 to 1992 I was in the Army Reserves. Anything you can do in the civilian world you can do in the military. There’s lawyers, there’s correspondences, there are people in bands. All kinds of opportunities. I did go to some training in Honduras, like a three week thing. It was called operation “Puerta y Caminos,” which means ‘Gates and Roads. It’s pretty cool to see the things that I would have never seen if I wasn’t in the Military. I was actually stationed in Saudi Arabia during Rahnama, they did a lot of fasting. The first day that I got there, we thought there were like wolves or something, but it was just people on their prayer rugs. Throughout the day they’d go out on their prayer rugs every so often. It’s also interesting to see other cultures, I mean people are more similar than they are different. Our governments may not get along but their people can get along,” Said Mrs. Bowers about just of few of the things she experiences being enlisted for only a few years.

Mr. Bill Wagner, who delivers food as a school representative, is another veteran working in and around Wheeling Park High School.

“I was in the Navy, enlisted in 1994, because I dropped out of college looking for something to do and went to the Navy to go see the world. It is nice, for around here, if you’re undecided, it gives you a career path. It introduces you to a whole variety of different people compared to this small little area. You get to see the world, you get to see all kinds of different things. It gives you help for college. One thing I would give advice to is pick something that you like to do. Look into each branch, cause the Navy has a whole bunch of things you can do. You can go around on ships, and learn all kinds of different stuff,” said Mr. Wagner about his experience.

Alongside all of these variety people, some students have enlisted because of family or personal reasons, like Noah Hardway and Gavin Evans.

“I signed with the Air Force because my great-grandpa did. He was proud of his military service and so was I. Since I was about twelve years old, its what I wanted to do. I plan to stay four to six years, and then go to trade school and work on race cars,” said Noah Hardway.

“I signed with the US Army, because I got scared in my junior year of high school. I paniced and joined the army. I don’t regret it, its fun. I’m going to stay in for six years maybe at the end I might go back in for another term, but as far as it is now, I’m gonna stay in for my six years and leave. I wanna use the skills that I learn from the military to put into the in the real world. So I am in the reserves, and I will being using that to boost my main job. Which will be operating heavy equipment. When I do that it goes hand-in-hand with my MOS,” Gavin Evans said honestly about his plans.

Recognizing our students choosing the miltary for their post secondary plans is an important part of the end of the year festivities.

“Signing recognition is just one of the things we do for our military families, and we are now a Purple Star school,” said Mrs. Mathieu. “We’re only the third one in the Ohio County Valley, and there’s 270 in the state of West Virginia. Being a Purple Star school is for schools that display a special commitment to supporting military children and their families.”

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Jozalin “Izzy” Gonzalez
  • Journalism I
  • Senior
  • Poet/ Writer/ Skateboarder/ Painter/ Sky Watcher Enthusiast/ Lover of Volleyball
  • "Something like that"
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