As the Class of 2020 disperses, following a unique end to their high school experience, they enter a diversity of pathways as numerous as ever before.
A tiny sliver — less than 1 percent — choose and qualify to enter the armed forces.
For the second year, Killeen ISD with Fort Hood commanders, community leaders and area recruiters honored those students preparing to enter basic training.
This year, the event was held at the KISD Career Center, spread out over several hours and carefully socially distanced according to state and national guidelines.
Nancy Duran, KISD Chief of College, Career and Military Readiness, said the recognition was not ideal due to constraints related to health concerns, but that it was important to honor the families and students on their way to defend the nation.
As a military veteran and a former teacher now guiding students’ pathways to future employment opportunities, Duran could speak easily on the profound nature of stepping into military service.
“Military service hasn’t always been viewed as a career choice,” she said during one of several ceremonies a year ago. “This brings awareness to seniors who are qualified to serve. Less than 1 percent decide to serve. They are a special group.”
It was soldiers assigned to the Harker Heights recruiting office that first suggested a “signing day” opportunity for high school students along the lines of the popular athletics signing days for students celebrating earning athletic scholarships.
Jean Shine, Fort Hood area civilian aide to the secretary of the Army and U.S. Rep. John Carter partnered with KISD to bring the recognitions to reality last year.
The seniors enlisting in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines and Army National Guard receive a red, white and blue honor cord to accompany their cap and gown during commencement ceremonies.
Shine joined 1st Cavalry Division commander Maj. Gen. Jeff Broadwater and Command Sgt. Maj. Thomas Kenny in congratulating this year’s graduates.
KISD students honored for enlisting in the military includes the following:
Shoemaker High School honorees include Jaden Sindab, Cassidy Dean, Chad Bowman, Jadiel Pintado, Crystal Cain, Veronica Myles, Eldridge Gilbert, Iyana Chopane Williams, David Welsch, Shaelynn Montgomery, Mark Anthony Harmon, Nickolaus Colbert, Delilah Boutin, Vincent Nautu and Kyle Nelson.
Pathways Academic Campus honorees include Adrian Walton and Travis Franklin.
Killeen High School honorees include Walter Gibson, Jaelon Ignacio, Jose Reyna, Tyrick Arterberry, Alejandro Presas, Timothy Trahan,De’Juan Ross, Raye Abordo and ChancleyPassi.
Ellison High School honorees include Hope Morris, Marshall Brashear, Vance Beaver, Faith Dearing, Kyler Wozniak, Ryan Batista, Julia Bravo, Rey Resendez, Jabreka Taylor, Neasha Dixon, James Otis, Levi Humphrey, Tyler Bequeaith, Bryce Quiroga, Joshua Duffield, Taylor Kelley, Alex Rosario, SchelbyHeston, James Jones and Lera Shurley.
Harker Heights High School honorees include Kylie Hicks, Bryan Sanchez, Annika Farr, Gustavo Munoz Cruz, Kevin Donnell, Darrell Donnell, Ethan Drehmel, Madisun Jones, Gage Schroder, Harley Murphy, Andrew Wesbrock, Jordan Henderson, Sebastian Wehrmeyer, Shane Bright, Jesse Black, Eduardo Del Pozo, Alyssa Ochoa and Lenializ Crespo.
Todd Martin is an employee of the KISD communications department and writes about students, teachers and school events.