Christopher Stout is turning in his paper work to enlist in the army. He's 28, a former Navy guy who went back to college. Rising tuition brings him back to the military. So does the structure. " In high school I joined the ROTC program and the structure they had there really appealed to me. You did things a certain way, but you were allowed to think on your own. They encourage that, " explained Stout.
Stout is just the kind of enlistee the army prefers. Mature, college educated and experienced. But more so, high school students fill their recruiting quotas. Staff Sgt. Larry Flores stands in front of a bulletin board with photographs of area high school students. " This is our Future Soldier Board and what it is we have our recruits and the first soldiers they have enlisted who are waiting to go to basic training. " Flores is pleased all these recruits plan to seek a high school diploma. " I think a lot of it has to do with the upbringing here in nacogdoches and the surrounding areas. The upbringing is very well and the crime rate is down, so there is no where to veer to and everybody is going to school. They think if everybody is going to school, might as well stay in school and graduate like everybody else, " said Flores.
The army's goal is 90% high school graduates, but since the war only about 71% of army recruits graduated from high school. Increased incentives that pay thousands of dollars in college costs have been in place for almost a year.
SFA's presence is helping local recruiting efforts. This week students were shown how the university's pre med program can fit right in to an army career. Major Mark Anderson, a military science professor said, " The military needs doctors, clinical psychologists, social workers, dentists and nurses. SFA has always been known to have a good pre career program. It makes a good match."