A couple years ago I had a very small, waifish boy in my algebra class. Nice enough kid, tried hard, but just couldn't seem to get it together. His parents weren't pleased with his overall achievement, and off he went to military school for a year.
He came back to our school and always made it a point to talk to me when we passed in the halls. He's now a senior--taller, filled out a bit, and still a baby face--and a couple weeks ago he told me he was going to enlist.
Yesterday he showed me his paperwork. He's going to be a wheeled vehicle mechanic, and his sign-up bonus is $20,000. He also said that the Army was putting him and some other young men up in a hotel downtown Friday night (last night) so they'd all be together (that is, they couldn't change their minds and not show up!) to be taken for their physicals and swearings-in on Saturday. He also told me that the army will pay him a few hundred dollars a month while he finishes high school, and he'll report to Fort Jackson for basic in the summer.
He's America's newest soldier. I'm very proud of him.