Nine Vermont high school students are one step closer towards becoming officers in the U.S. military.
Vermont Senators Bernie Sanders, Patrick Leahy and Congressman Peter Welch nominated them to three of America’s Service Academies.
“I want to be a soldier,” says Gavin Bannister. “It’s really special to have this recognition and granted this chance to serve.”
At the ceremony, parents watched their children take the next steps towards realizing their dreams.
“It’s really overwhelming to think of your son going to the military career so I have a lot of concerns as a mother,” says parent Sheri Bedard.
“It was a little choking and a little tearful,” says parent Ashley Buoniconti. “You try to hold it in because you just want to see them succeed.”
“[My daughter] always strives for her goals and puts in everything she has,” says Shay Buoniconti. “She goes for it and we’re very proud of her and all she’s accomplished and will continue to be proud of her.”
Gavin’s family has a long history of serving in the military.
“[My grandfather] has always been inspirational for me,” Gavin Bannister says. “[He was] intelligent and hardworking and that’s what’s really inspiring for me.”
Although the desire to serve remains constant throughout American history, one thing is different now. Military service from females.
“If we were here 30 years ago, we would not see any young woman applying for positions in the academies,” says Vermont Senator (I) Bernie Sanders.
Two out of the nine nominees this year were females.
For high schooler Konnery Buoniconti, it’s all about being at the forefront of breaking barriers.
“Being a female and going into any part of stem is such a big thing now,” says the U.S Naval Academy Nominee. “It’s really empowering to show little girls that you can be here.”
“She’s been the person that doesn’t matter what’s said, you can’t do it I’m going to go do it,” parent Ashley Buoniconti says. “You’re afraid to do this, get into the room.”
For parents, seeing their children grow up into model citizens is the most fulfilling part of their job of being a parent.
“She once saw a girl sitting at lunch all by herself and she left her group of friends to go sit with her,” parent Shay Buoniconti says. “Hi my name is Konnery and I want to be your friend. That’s Konnery to a tea for sure.”
A day like this – a big one for them.
But also one for the longest current serving U.S senator Patrick Leahy who leaves office at the end of the year.
This marked his last officially scheduled event as a Senator in the Green Mountain State.
“It means a lot to me and Marcelle to be here,” says Vermont Senator (D) Patrick Leahy. “And how proud I’ve been here in the U.S and abroad running into a Vermonter who went to one of the academies.”
From history to now, a story about those who have served and for those who will serve.