By Chris Gotwals and Sam Valentin-
They are only in high school but they are making decisions and taking tests that will decide their future.
On average, about 20 Penn Manor students take the ASVAB test every year with intentions to go into the military and this year was no different.
The ASVAB or the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery is a military-based aptitude test with multiple parts of the test covering math, reading, science, vocabulary, mechanics and electronics.
“Fourteen males and three females took the ASVAB this year,” said Penn Manor Counselor Jim Yearsley.
“The past few years it has varied how many students take it, more students now take it more now than five years ago,” he said.
“Some students do better going straight into the military,” Yearsley noted. “While some do better going to college and going through ROTC and military courses.”
Although Yearsley said it would be “awful” if someone from the school, either a counselor or teacher who helped a student decide to join, reads that they passed away during combat, he said he has come to appreciate how many Penn Manor students decide to go into the military service for their country.
“This is a very patriotic school district,” he said.
The ASVAB test is different from the SAT and other standardized tests at school because the overall grade doesn’t matter as much as the individual parts of it. If a student scores high on mechanics but not math, the military branch may place that student in a job with mechanics, and not math. It’s that simple.
The highest score possible is a 99, but to get into the military branches you only need to score a 31 for the Army, a 32 for the Marines, a 35 for the Navy and a 36 for the Air Force. However, the lower the score the lower the number of jobs open up for that soldier in each branch.
“I think I did pretty good, it was easy except the mechanics section,” Penn Manor Junior Josh Shetrompf said.
Penn Manor senior Michael Schneider took the ASVAB at a local Military Entrance Processing Station (MEPS) so he could get medical tests done at the same time that he needed to join the Army.
“The ASVAB test at MEPS was a little harder and longer than the one I took at school last year,” said Schneider. “I did a little better than the first time so I’m happy about that. But spending the day at MEPS was alright, lots of tests like hearing, vision, drug tests, blood tests and mobility tests to see if you’re in shape for the military.”
Schneider plans to go back to the station in the near future to actually be sworn into the United States Army.
Kurt Devlin, a Penn Manor sophomore, didn’t take the ASVAB yet, but he is sure the military will be part of his future.
“My dad was in the military, his dad was in the military, it’s a family thing,” said Devlin. “My dad was looking for me to go in since my brother didn’t. He got a scholarship to play soccer in college.”
Devlin’s dad and grand dad were both in the Air Force and his grandfather also served 20 years in the Navy, retiring last year.
But Devlin is looking to the Marines for his career as a sniper.
“I think it will be exciting,” he said.