Volume 20 Issue 17 | September 7 - 13, 2007

Back to School

Some vocational students would give the military a shot

By Lincoln Anderson

At Chelsea Campus High School in Soho, a vocational school, students have some different opinions on whether the military is a good career choice.

At the end of the last academic year, Air Force pilots came by the school at Dominick St. and Sixth Ave. — not to recruit, they said, but just to talk to the youths. They addressed the students in the auditorium, speaking about the daily responsibilities in the Air Force.

An informal survey of students out on “Chelsea Beach” — the park at Soho Square — after the pilots had left revealed that some students see the military as a viable option to help with their education and careers while others want nothing to do with it. It didn’t appear that any student protests had greeted the servicemen.

Ashley Wilder, 18, from E. 14th St., a junior, said she had been thinking about going into the National Guard when she graduates, and that, if she can’t afford college, it’s definitely an option.

But DeQuam White, 17, of Harlem, said he didn’t support the war, and that most students at the school don’t either.

“People just keep dying,” he said. “I don’t see the point of fighting. It’s making it harder for us to live. Gas prices keep getting more. Bush is just doing it because his father had a Persian problem. It’s a religious war — we can’t win it.”

White said he hopes to attend business school.

“I like the idea of planes — and dropping bombs,” said Kyle Beltran, 18, quickly adding he was just kidding about the second part.

“It’s a good experience. You can learn from it,” said Angelica Brown, 17, of the military. “I don’t want to go to war — but if I do…not everyone’s guaranteed to die.”

A school safety officer, seeing the students being interviewed, swung over to make sure everything was O.K.

“Sign ’em all up!” he quipped gruffly, throwing his arms over a couple of the teens’ shoulders with a grin. “I did my time,” he said. He angrily muttered something about an “illegal war” and how Bush should be “impeached.” Then, as quickly as he had arrived, he had returned to his post, leaving the students to talk and listen to their iPods.

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