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State Honors High School Students Headed to Military Service

State school superintendent Paolo DeMaria shakes hands with John Hamlin, a U.S. Army recruit from West Union High School in Adams County.

Hundreds of high school seniors bound for the armed forces were honored in Columbus. It’s a ceremony conceived by the state school superintendent, and it’s grown dramatically in its first year.

Credit Karen Kasler
Ohio Department of Veterans Services Director Major General Deborah Ashenhurst (third from left) shakes hands with a U.S. Army recruit at the Ohio Military Signing Day ceremony.

Seniors headed for the U.S. Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines were applauded for their decision to enlist, and their families were praised for supporting their kids’ decision. State school superintendent Paolo DeMaria says these students deserved to be publicly recognized.

“We have signing day for athletes, we have signing day for students sometimes about where they go to college. Let’s elevate, let’s honor, let’s celebrate these young men and women who are really making a huge commitment, an act of courage and dedication.”

Credit Karen Kasler
Recruits from around the state signed “commitment forms” which designate the branch of the military in which they’ve enlisted at the Ohio Military Signing Day ceremony.

DeMaria said fewer than a hundred kids were honored at the first Ohio Military Signing Day in 2018. This year there were 326 from around the state who responded to the invitation to attend.