MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A group of seniors in a central Minnesota town are joining forces for life after high school.

They took part Monday in a signing day of their own at Osakis High School. Seven seniors have committed to the Minnesota National Guard, including seniors Duncan Vandergon, Anna Wolf and Jacob Uhl.

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“I have a long family line of service, so that obviously led into it,” Vandergon said.

From following in the footsteps of parents and grandparents who were in the military, to the physical challenges that come with joining the National Guard.

“I really want to challenge myself. I’m not like the greatest at a lot of things, and I think I could be really good at this,” Wolf said.

Seven of 69 Osakis seniors will be guard members. That’s 10% of the graduating class. Most years the school will see just one or two students make this commitment.

While the reasons for joining the National Guard vary from soldier to soldier, the group agrees that community and school support made the decision easier.

“I think it’s awesome. They really raised my pride in our town,” Uhl said. “In today’s age I think it’s awesome that we can get seven people from Osakis to join.”

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(credit: CBS)

The first senior to join was Carson Bergquist, who is the son of Superintendent Randy Bergquist.

“I pushed my other friends to join. You know, I went to high school with them, and you know, it’s good. We go up every month to drill, and it’s good to know somebody there,” Carson Bergquist said.

Randy Bergquist says Osakis has deep military roots.

“I couldn’t be more proud of these students,” Randy Bergquist said.

Two of the seniors will actually miss high school graduation because they are leaving early for basic training.

“To have that many and knowing that I’m gonna have that kind of connection back here, I can’t wait to be back here at our reunion and go, ‘Hey, you’re in the guard,’” Wolf said.

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Each of the National Guard students plans to go to college, and they said having the National Guard pay for school also played a major role in their decision.

John Lauritsen