Park City students put country ahead of college
With college decisions rolling out every day, seniors at Park City High School are getting ready to decide how they will spend the next four years of their lives. For some the pursuit of higher knowledge will include a larger sacrifice as they forgo the typical university experience to serve their country.
Porges: a childhood dream fulfilled
Senior Taylor Porges is headed to Annapolis, Maryland to train at the United States Naval Academy. After four years at the academy he will spend at least five years serving in the Navy.
"I want to become a flight officer right when I graduate. Flight training will be an additional three years on my contract," stated Porges who has hoped to attend the Naval Academy since freshman year.
"I’ve been working towards the Naval Academy for three years straight, doing everything I possibly can and now I’ve finally gotten in."
Porges is enrolled in AP Calculus, AP Physics, and AP Spanish Literature, in addition to playing soccer, interning as a lab researcher for DW Healthcare Partners, and flying out of Heber Airport.
Besides making his parents proud, he said he is driven by a love of his country and a desire to change the world.
"I’m OK with laying my life down for my country," he said.
Marsella: Ready to put his life on the line
Senior Nick Marsella enlisted in the United States Marine Corps Reserve to give back to his country and gain life experience.
"I kind of wanted to stop taking everything I had for granted. I’ve lived in Park City my entire life. Nothing bad ever really happens. Nothing ever really threatens anything I have, so I figured this would be an excellent way to get out of that bubble and get experience," he explained.
As part of his six-year contract, Marsella will defer his first semester of college to spend five months at boot camp. He will undergo 13 weeks of basic training followed by seven weeks of specialty school for infantry training.
Marsella will then return to attend college at the University of Utah where his time commitment will be one weekend a month and two weeks during the summer for additional training. The Marine Corps will pay for half his college tuition.
"The Reserve is kind of a there-if-you-need-them kind of role, so if they need me I’ll be there, if they don’t I still go to college. If there are any natural disasters in Utah I could potentially go to assist in any way they need me to. If, for some reason, we go into another conflict, if my unit that I report to volunteers to go to the conflict I’ll go and college will have to be put on the backburner," said Marsella.
In addition to playing lacrosse, working two jobs, and being a member of the high school’s chapter of HOSA-Future Health Professionals, Marsella especially enjoys studying AP Environmental Science, training as an EMT, and playing in the PCHS orchestra.
Recruiter says attitude is everything
According to Sgt. Guerra Francisco, a Salt Lake-based Marine Corps recruiter, passion is the key to success for students interested in enlisting in the military.
"We don’t want to set someone up for failure. If you’re not passionate about this you won’t be successful. Our overall goal is to ensure the individual is happy with whatever they choose to do," he said.
"We’ve had some people we turned away because of their attitude. You start talking to them and realize they just aren’t taking it seriously. We as Marines take this seriously and don’t play those games. (We want enlistees) to be 110 percent sure they know what they are getting into."