Due to so many schools participating in military signing week, we were unable to make it to every signing across our area. If you love or know a student who participated but was not in our coverage, send us pictures and info by email or through a Facebook message.
CLARKSBURG, W.Va. – Sports signings for students who choose to play college sports after high school are a common event, but now West Virginia is recognizing students who, instead of going on to play college sports, are going to serve their country.
Students from across the state were recognized at their high schools as they signed to join the U.S. armed forces during official military signing week.
Fairmont Senior High School
David Woodson signed with the Army National Guard and will work on aircrafts as an aviation mechanic and loves to work with his hands. Woodson’s dad was also in the Army National Guard.
Luke Blickenstaff signed with the U.S. Marine Corps. He plans to become a military policeman.
Dustin Hawkins also signed up with the U.S. Marine Corps. He will be in the infantry.
“It makes me feel good that you know those kids are going to get recognized for doing really what is a selfless act and joining the military is not for anybody else your taking care of the rest of the country, so it’s not about a personal gain it’s more about what’s good for the society,” said Fairmont Senior Principle James Green.
Ritchie County High School
Lance Nutter signed to serve in the West Virginia Air National Guard. Nutter is a senior this year.
Jordan Jones signed with the West Virginia Air National Guard. He is a senior at Ritchie County.
Thomas Miracle signed to join the West Virginia Army National Guard. He is a senior.
Vanessa Dawson signed to join the West Virginia Army National Guard. She is a junior at Ritchie County.
Buckhannon-Upshur High School
Clint Crites signed to enlist in the Army National Guard, his training will continue in early June. His MOS, or job, will be 11-Bravo, which is field artillery, where he will load and fire cannons. Crites is also doing the ROTC program, or Reserve Officers’ Training Corps.
“I think it’s a good fall back and there’s a lot of great like… benefits that come with it, it’s just an offer that you cant really pass up. I think it’s a great idea, I think it gives you a lot of great opportunities, I think it’s something you can do for your country one, and two, it benefits you a lot in many different ways,” said Crites.
Crites also said he’s looking forward to all the experience he will get from the Army National Guard.
East Fairmont High School
Ben Cyphers signed to join the West Virginia Army National Guard. Cyphers is a senior at East Fairmont and is on the wrestling and track teams. He is a third-generation veteran in his family. He enlisted as a 15-golf which means he will specialize in Aircraft Structural Repair.
“I’d like to thank my parents for always supporting me through the whole process. They’ve been so supportive every step of the way and I’m really excited to join, give back to the community that I’ve always been a part of and have always done so much for me. And I’m really excited to serve my country in the way that my father did, and my grandfather did,” Cyphers said.
Konnor Jurasko signed to join the U.S. Navy. He also has a history of service in his family; his father is a Marine Veteran. He will serve as a hospital foreman and medic in the Navy.
“I joined because I wanted to follow what my father and my grandfather have done and I felt like it was just a better path than going down the schooling route,” Jurasko said.
Evan Bartholow signed with the West Virginia Army National Guard. He is a junior who enlisted as soon as he was eligible at the age of 17. He is a multi-sport athlete at East Fairmont including football and cross-country track. He enlisted in the National Guard as a 11-Charlie which means he will be an Indirect Fire Infantryman.
“I chose to serve with the National Guard because I want to build and serve my community and the state of West Virginia and also build and serve the country as well,” Bartholow said.
This was the first military signing day East Fairmont High has ever held.
“I’m really excited to be able to honor these three young men and the challenges that they have taken on as they leave high school and become adults and citizens and just want to give back to their country. We became a purple star school this year with the state of West Virginia, and I think this is just a great tribute to veterans and future veterans. … I think everybody has a different path that they need to follow and that’s what makes everything work for us,” Mary Westfall, principal of EFHS said.
Westfall said they plan to hold military signing days every year.
Bridgeport High School
Bryce Carnes signed with the Army National Guard reserves. He will be starting his once-a-month training at the end of July and he will begin his education at Fairmont State in the fall where he will also wrestle.
Isaiah Dytzel signed with the U.S. Marine Corps. He will head to Parris Island, South Carolina for basic training in mid-August.
“I’ve always wanted to serve my country, when I was a young kid, back in like grade school and all. I like my country, I love it with all my heart. I just think it would be, for me, an accomplishment to serve my country.”
The students sat at a table in front of the school’s dedication to its employees’ loved ones who are in the military. A school official told them she wanted them to do the signing there so they would know that there would always be people that had their back.
University High School
Shahid Hayward signed with the U.S. Navy. Shahid plans to serve in the Navy for four years so that he can get into the academy.
Evan Large signed with the U.S. Air Force Academy. Evan hopes to be a pilot, although he said he’s not sure what planes he wants to fly just yet. Large’s grandfather was also in the Air Force. “I think it’s a call to action. People need to be protected, and someone has to do it,” he said. He will head to the Air Force Academy in June.
Dylan Layne signed with the 35 F Army National Guard. He follows in the footsteps of several family members on his military path including his cousin and his brother. He leaves for basic training in August.
Zoe Rexrode signed with the Army National Guard. She said she decided to join the National Guard so she could get job experience. Rexrode’s grandfather was in the Marines and her grandmother had wanted to be a pilot but couldn’t at the time because she was a woman. She plans to be an avionic mechanic. She leaves for basic training in September.