HASTINGS, Minn. (WCCO) — Military recruiters say it’s a challenging time to get students to commit to the Armed Forces.

But at one Minnesota high school, it hasn’t been a problem at all. Twenty five students from the 2018 senior class at Hastings High School are going into the military.

It’s by far a record number the school.

“I’m looking forward to it really. I wish I could have gone sooner but that’s just the way it works,” said Owen Dotson.

In fact, Dotson said he’s been waiting for this opportunity since he was a kid.

“Dad was in the Marine Corps. Mom in the Air Force. I have an uncle in the National Guard right now,” said Dotson.

Family history, and help with college, are big reasons why many of the 25 graduates are ready to serve their country. Of those, 15 are committed to the National Guard. Six will be Marines. The rest have enlisted in the Air Force, Army or Navy.

“It’s kind of crazy that it’s that many but it’s mostly awesome,” said Donovan Mattson.

Mattson joined the National Guard because he thinks a military background will help him become a police officer. But like a band of brothers, Mattson said enlisting with friends made the decision a no-brainer.

“It’s great to be doing something awesome together. Any other guys it wouldn’t be the same,” said Mattson.

As soon as some of the recruits took off their caps and gowns, they were putting on uniforms and heading off to boot camp. Dotson and Mattson still have a few weeks before they leave. But they know the task ahead is a little easier, because of the support behind them.

“There are some national disasters you can help with. I like that aspect of the military. Helping people out at home,” said Dotson.

“I am pretty proud of it. It feels good when people walk up to you and thank you for your service,” said Mattson.

Sgt. James Connolly of the National Guard said Hastings was easily his most successful school.

John Lauritsen

Comments