GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - A group of Harrison Central High School students are one step closer to serving their country.
Their decision to serve was celebrated in front of an audience of friends and family Wednesday morning. It was the first time for the school to celebrate military enlistees in front of a crowd of proud family and friends.
"The travel is really good. They're going to help me with my education," said future sailor, Ivory Artis.
Some had military in the family, like David Liebold, whose grandfather was a Marine. Making the decision to follow in his footsteps was important to him.
"I want to serve my country and I chose the Marines in particular because I want to be part of the best. I want to be a part of the best fighting force, and I believe they're the best," Liebold said.
With students stepping off into a new chapter, naturally there were butterflies.
"I'm nervous. It's kind of hard to leave behind all the family and friends that you have down here, and it's a big step and a big change," said Garrett Sales.
But, it's a change students welcomed with open arms.
"There was a select few kids that just wanted to do something greater. Wanted to do something other than just going to college," said Alyssa Northrop.
Her decision join the National Guard is starting to sink in with her family; her grandfather calling it bittersweet.
"She's grown up, she's going to be leaving us now. No more baby. I'm very proud of her," said Pete Northrop.
Kesha Palmer, librarian and media specialist for the school, approached Harrison Central Principal Averie Bush, with the idea to celebrate these students signing up to serve. According to Bush, he hopes this will become an annual ceremony.
The following students signed up to serve:
Army National Guard: