Military Commitment Recognition
Class of 2020
Our congratulations to the following seniors on their graduation, and our gratitude and respect for their choice to serve our country.
Below are the members of the General McLane High School Class of 2020 who have committed to protect the freedoms we value as citizens of the United States of America.
Logan Ackelson, United States Marines
Staff Sergeant Shutts, Recruiter
Logan is the son of Teressa Sanders and James Ackelson. He will be reporting to the Marine Corps Recruit Depot at Parris Island August 3, 2020. Logan will be working in motor transportation.
“It’s the challenge that makes me want to earn the title of Marine” Logan states. Logan’s grandfathers both served, one in the Army, one in the Air Force; they were inspirational to him in making his choice to serve our country. Logan, thank you for your commitment to our country.
Hunter Dickson, United States Marines
Staff Sergeant Shutts, Recruiter
Hunter is the son of Steve Dickson and Jennifer Littrell. He will report July 13, 2020 to Parris Island; Hunter plans to work as a Combat Engineer.
“I chose the Marine Corp because I want to fight and serve my country, protect my family and be able to have another brotherhood I can call my own,” explained Hunter. His inspiration came from movies and documentaries about the Marines; he feels the Marines are the coolest and most prideful branch. Hunter gives advice to underclassmen: “If you want to succeed in life but you don’t know what or how to do it, the Military is always an option.” Thank you, Hunter, for your choice to serve and protect our country.
Zachariah Lofgren, Air Force ROTC
Zachariah is the son of Luke and Michele Lofgren. He has received and accepted an Air Force ROTC Scholarship and will be attending Liberty University in the fall to major in Mechanical Engineering. Once he completes his degree, he will serve in the Air Force and would like to put his education to work during his enlistment.
Zachariah has been a member of the Civil Air Patrol, the civilian auxiliary of the Air Force, since the age of 12. This involvement and the “people oriented focus and mission they strive to work toward” has inspired him to specifically choose the Air Force.
He would encourage underclassmen to consider serving in the military, especially if they are “mission and team oriented” . . . “Serving our country is one of the highest honors and thus should be looked at seriously,” Zachariah advises. He emphasizes the opportunity to gain both technical and personal skills. Zachariah, thank you for dedication to our country.
Sydney Patterson, United States Navy
Sydney is the daughter of Frank and Marlene Patterson; she will report August 4, 2020 to Great Lakes Naval Station in Chicago. Her plan is to work as an aircrew member during her enlistment. When asked, “Why Navy?” Sydney replied that she is looking forward to the experience; she loves the ocean and is excited about spending time at sea. Sydney was first exposed to Navy opportunities when recruiters visited classes here at GMHS, and it was after thinking about the benefits, traveling, and ability to earn her education without debt that she was inspired to join.
Her advice to underclassmen: “If you’re thinking about it then go ahead and talk to a recruiter, ask a lot of questions and don’t be scared to ask them. It’s a great opportunity and many adults that I talk with now say that they wished they had done what I’m doing right now.” Sydney, our thanks to you for your commitment to serve our country!
Colin Ramey, United States Air Force
Robert Rose, United States Army
Mitchell Varo, United States Marines
Mitchell is the son of Dave and Stephanie Varo of McKean. He will report September 8 to Parris Island for Basic Training. Mitchell plans to work as an avionics mechanic for rotary aircraft. When asked, “Why the Marines?” he replied that he has wanted to be a member of the Marines since he was a “little kid.”
He was inspired to join the Marines for the honor and recognition of being a Marine. His advice to underclassmen? “It is a great way to start your life after high school if you do not like (the option of) college.” Mitchell, thank you for your decision to serve!
Austin Voelker, United States Air Force
Austin is the son of Sara and Nathan Wurst of McKean; he will be reporting to Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas sometime this summer. Austin chose the Air Force because he would be provided the best technical training in the area of HVAC.
His motivation for joining the military? To be a part of “something bigger than myself.” Austin, our gratitude to you for your commitment!
Elizabeth Woods, United States Navy
Elizabeth is the daughter of Rachel Prozan and Dean Woods. She will be reporting for duty in Chicago on July 29, 2020. Her goal is to work in the Advanced Electronics Field. Elizabeth chose the military because she doesn’t think college “is a good fit for me at this point in time.” The Navy was her choice because of all the things she has heard and learned about the different branches of the military, she has heard the most positive things about the Navy.
When asked, Elizabeth said, “Mr. Stauffer opened me up to the idea of the Navy sophomore year when he brought a recruiter into class to talk about it. I became set on it when I had some friends join and heard about what a great experience it is.” Her advice for underclassmen? “Joining the military is a great decision because it gives you the opportunity to travel, meet great people, and gain knowledge/experience that you wouldn’t have the opportunity to gain otherwise. Plus, you get so many benefits that will help you for the rest of your life. If you think it’s for you, I highly encourage you to take that step.” Elizabeth, thank you for taking that step to defend our country!
Caleb Zajac-Woodie, United States Marines
Staff Sergeant Shutts, Recruiter
Caleb is the son of Diane Zajac and Shawn David Woodie. He will be reporting to the Marine Corps Recruit Depot at Parris Island on October 7, 2020. Caleb’s primary focus will be as a small arms technician.
Why the Marines? “It’s something I’ve always wanted to do to earn the title of Marine,” Caleb replied. His grandfather Zibigniew Slepowronska served in the Polish National Army; his great-grandfather Paul Leroy Wile served in the Air Force and great-grandfather Harold Woodie served in the Army, both during World War II. Caleb’s great uncle Paul J. Wile served in the Marines during Vietnam. All were inspirational to him in making his choice to serve our country. Caleb’s advice to underclassmen: “Never stop pursuing your dream no matter what the obstacles!” Thank you for your commitment to our country, Caleb!
Messages of Congratulations and Gratitude
A message from Pennsylvania’s 47th Governor Tom Wolf
A message from Rick Scaletta, Superintendent, General McLane School District
A message from Michael Cannata, Director of Pupil Services, General McLane School District
To the Seniors who have chosen military service: First and foremost, we are all very proud of you for making the choice to serve your country. You will become part of something much bigger and more important than anything you can imagine. Your service will benefit you as a person, but the benefits that we as a country receive cannot be measured. General Douglas MacArther said, “No man is entitled to the blessings of freedom unless they be vigilant in its preservation.” There is nothing that you can do that is more patriotic than serving your country. The service can be the start of a rewarding career and when asked in the future what you did to make your life worthwhile, you can respond with pride that you served in the armed forces.
~ Mr. Scott Korb
United States Navy Retired
It has been said that…there is no greater expression of love and commitment than one who is willing to lay down his life for his friends (John 15:13). The best things in life require real sacrifice and commitment. This is the life and journey that you all have chosen for yourselves to the benefit of your fellow Americans. We cannot as a country possess and enjoy our great freedoms without people like you, people who answer a call to hard work and commitment to the service of their friends by, possibly, putting life on the line, to stand between the many threats and dangers in this world so we can be with our families, friends and loved ones in safety, security, and prosperity. I thank you on behalf of myself and my family for your commitment to our great country with the great freedoms we enjoy by which the blessings I have enjoyed in this life have been truly made possible.
~ Mr. Brett Vath
-Fellow Citizen, Father, Husband
-Former member 37th Light Combat Engineer Airborne Paratroopers
Congratulations on your decision to commit to the safety and security of our nation as a member of our armed forces. You will now be a part of an elite group of Americans to whom no amount of money can ever gain you entrance. I salute and commend your decision to serve on behalf of all of us. Fair winds and following seas.
~Mr. Brian Woodward, US Navy-Seabees
Operation Desert Storm/Desert Shield
Congratulations on your decision to serve our country. Being in the military has made me the person I am and influences everything I do. I learned to value human life and trust the people around me that care for me. You will no doubt experience the same. Best wishes and thank you!
~Mr. Jake Malec, US Army