The Heroes of ACHS

Heroes come in many ages, shapes and sizes, including a multitude of past, present and future military members.

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The Heroes of ACHS

PAST

Antioch Community High School is the workplace of veterans with many of the security guards being veterans of the United States military. Not only did they protect the nation, but they keep us protected in the school as well.

Antioch’s very own security guard, Robert Gabriel committed a significant portion of his life into helping Americans feel safe at home.

“I didn’t join the military, I was drafted. I was the last guy drafted for Vietnam in 1972 on my 19th birthday. But, I was happy now that I look back on it, spending almost 38 years in the Army,” said Gabriel.

Gabriel accomplished a lot in his 38 years, retiring in 2010 as a Sergeant Major. Since his service, he received multiple medals including the Legion of Merit, which is equivalent to the Medal of Honor. He also grew close with his military brothers over the years and is close with many of them to this day. He credits the military for creating such a strong bond between comrades.

“The military is family, and just like in any family, you’re going to have your sibling rivalries, disagreements and good and bad moments. But, the gratifying thing is that if you have to go into a combat situation, you know everyone’s capabilities and each soldier has each others backs,” Gabriel said.

Gabriel uses his past experiences to help students decide whether or not they want to join the military. The military world is totally different and should be kept in mind when considering joining.

“It’s very strict, demanding and hard, but that is what it takes to be the best,” said Gabriel.

Only the few that are brave and strong enough rise up to the challenge by defending our country and putting their lives on the line.

“The military isn’t high school; they will bust your chops, you don’t get a detention, it is much worse,” Gabriel said.

PRESENT

A hero is one who puts their life in harms way to help others. The heroes of Antioch Community High School are always busy defending the country and making sure people are safe here at home. Many students go off to college after high school. They work hard, get a job and ultimately have a family. That wasn’t the life that Antioch alumni Moises Teran wanted.

Teran and his best friend Chris Baxter are both currently Privates in the Marines and graduates of 2014.

“I honestly did not want to go to college and I saw the Marine Corps as a way to bypass that. I did not want to take the route everyone seems to be going to,” said Teran.

Teran wanted the road less traveled, which was the military life.

Although the military career path sounds complicated and hard, it brings people together. It turns family into friends. The soldiers go head first through boot camp and all their challenges coming out as one.

“The Marine Corps is a brotherhood. It’s something you can only experience to understand. It’s through the hardships we experience together that makes us so tight. When you suffer with someone long enough, that’s when you get close to one another,” said Baxter.

Everything the soldiers do is relatable. They all have each others backs as if they were brothers and understand one another. It’s important for each and every soldier to understand one another in battle.

The transition between a civilian and a soldier is a very big leap with all the demands. One learns to be the best of the best. Soldiers learn things like commitment, discipline and manners.

“You learn how to walk, talk, eat, and breathe as a soldier. I’m not the same person I was three months ago after training. It’s a complete transformation. They don’t take your personality away, they just make you better,” said Baxter.

Teran and Baxter are both examples of military strong: disciplined, brave and intelligent.

FUTURE

Every single day soldiers fight for their lives in order for Americans to feel safe going to work, being with their family or going through everyday motions. Although one may not realize it, students walk alongside future soldiers that will be fighting for their lives to protect american citizens one day.

Patriotism is one of the many reasons people join the military and that is what one can see at ACHS with some of the students wanting to enlist.

“There are many reasons I would like to join the military, but above all I would like to join in order to make the world a better place,” said junior Zach Olson.

Olson is looking to become a Marine in the upcoming years and wants to follow this path for at least three years.

“I realized I wanted to join in eighth grade when hearing Chris Bedolla talk about his brother in such a positive way,” Olson said.

Olson realized how big of a role soldiers play and how respected they are. He learned from his peers how so many people are thankful for the military. He feels the military can have many benefits and can teach soldiers a surplus of great qualities to have such as respect and integrity.

Senior Morgan Yankee said, “I would suggest others to join. The military teaches people to be selfless. It teaches loyalty and all of these traits are valuable and will help you out in your future lives.”

Although it’s a tough lifestyle, Yankee looks forward to the life as a soldier. Yankee was selected to be part of the U.S. Army All American Marching Band and is performing during the halftime show of the U.S. All American Bowl in San Antonio, Texas on Jan. 3, 2015.

“I am looking forward to the experience, the people I’m going to meet and, above all, wearing my country’s colors,” Yankee said.

Becoming a soldier in the military is not like an everyday job. It’s not easy and it isn’t a job for all people. One has to have great characteristics and much dedication. The military has many benefits in joining and can teach many important life lessons as well. Although it is a very dangerous lifestyle, members of ACHS are proud to be the future of this nation’s military and are willing to protect and fight for this country.

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