Enlisting seniors celebrate with special military graduation ceremony

The seniors walked across the stage to receive their diploma from Principal Balkom. (WJHG/WECP)
The seniors walked across the stage to receive their diploma from Principal Balkom. (WJHG/WECP)(WJHG)
Published: May. 28, 2020 at 10:02 PM CDT
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It was certainly not the ideal situation, as Deane Bozeman School Assistant Principal Ivan Beach put it.

"We're all making the best of the situation that we currently find ourselves in. But we're so glad we're here tonight to celebrate your students and their accomplishments," Beach said.

Caps in hand and loved ones by their side, five Deane Bozeman seniors walked the stage Thursday night as part of a special military graduation ceremony.

“It’s a way for them to show what they’ve done," Chief Warrant Officer 3 Jeffery Adkins said, who is the senior army instructor for the JROTC program.

What they've done is not only make it through the pandemic, but also a hurricane.

"Knowing the students I've worked with that have struggled over the last couple years with all the challenges, and knowing you've made a commitment serving your country, I could not be more proud," Deane Bozeman School Principal Josh Balkom said.

“This group of students we felt were very special because they’re stepping out into a leadership role for our nation and we wanted to support them the best we can," Beach said.

Joining the Army, Navy and National Guard, these seniors will soon head to basic training.

Officials with the Florida Army National Guard said basic training sites will have heightened precautions.

“They do have quarantine periods when they first show up and then they get assessed; temperature and symptoms and things like that," Lieutenant Colonel Patrick Pelletier said, who is the Florida Army National Guard Recruiting and Retention Battalion Commander.

He also said stay-at-home orders caused a drop in military recruitment.

“Our recruiters have had to change, meaning we would do certain things to find recruits, going to colleges, going to high schools personally. But that all closed down," Lieutenant Colonel Pelletier said.

Nonetheless, upcoming class sizes will be bigger because training was canceled this spring. But before they go, these five will celebrate all they've accomplished.

Congrats to Zachary McWhorter who enlisted in the Navy!

Congrats to Darrin Ranallo, Bryson Wilder, and Krislynn Boice who enlisted in the National Guard!

Congrats to CamrieAnn Smits who enlisted in the Army!

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