National Guards presents an alternative path

A presentation educates BVH students about ROTC program

More stories from Destiny Avila Ramirez


Lauralai Gilbert

At Bonita Vista High (BVH) on Jan. 26 during lunch in the Counseling Center, a National Guard Scholarship presentation was held. California Army National Guard Staff Sergeant Dante Burce and Lead Generator Zinnia Murillo talk to senior Giselle Geering about the different positions in the ROTC program.

On Thursday Jan. 26, a presentation was held to provide information on the Minuteman National Guard Scholarship and overall Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) program for Bonita Vista High (BVH) juniors and seniors. The presentation was held in the Counseling Center during lunch.

Working with the California Army National Guard, Staff Sergeant Dante Burce and Lead Generator Zinnia Murillo work to recruit and educate possible future ROTC students after high school with presentations. Murillo explains that when recruiting, she is oftentimes an assistant to a sergeant in their assigned community and recruiting area.

“I am assisting so I am in a position where I have other sergeants that I work for as well. We work in Chula Vista mostly and I come out to several schools with them. They have designated schools so I go to each individual school [and] help assist everyday,” Murillo said.

Burce explains that through the presentation, he and Murillo want to educate other students. Their goal is to share information about the ROTC program and ensure that joining the program after graduation is an option that students are aware of. He explains that at times people don’t know about the program and the benefits that come with it, allowing him to go out and encourage students to join. 

“Be aware of the benefits because this is one of the options available out there to where you could get 100 percent of your tuition paid for. As well as getting paid in the process which is a huge benefit so that it doesn’t force the student to work a part-time job,” Burce said. “This is to help build a professional career because you’re not getting a degree to have a job, you’re wanting a degree to have a career.”

Senior Giselle Geering submitted her application to the ROTC program this year in early January and has since worked to prepare herself for the program. In doing so, she attended the National Guard ROTC presentation and asked questions about potential scholarships and about her overall application completion. She explains how helpful presentations like these can be for high school students such as herself.

“ROTC is such a great program where you can have your education paid for, be part of a great institution, learn discipline and honor, respect, integrity.

— Senior Giselle Geering

“[These presentations are] definitely very helpful because a lot of high school students struggle with their plan to pay for college. ROTC is such a great program where you can have your education paid for, be part of a great institution, learn discipline and honor, respect, integrity,” Geering said. 

Geering emphasized the benefits of the ROTC program and the opportunities it offers. She explains the importance of extending one’s education while being able to complete military service.

“You can serve your country, too and by high school students being exposed to this, it will help them feel more confident when applying to colleges because they will know they have a potential way to pay for it.” Geering said.

Throughout the presentation both Burce and Murillo emphasize the benefits of joining the ROTC program and specifically focus on the National Guard being a part-time component. Murillo explains that what may come to a challenge at times when recruiting is that students think of the military and may be fearful of the idea of joining.

“We are part-time, so we are able to focus on our personal goals while serving our country at the same time. For me, I get the perks of living a civilian life and getting paid like I was deployed and I’m serving at the same time so it’s great,” Murillo said.

Geering explains that the presentation shared how the ROTC is a program that can help many students after high school in serving their country and growing a career at the same time. Seeing as she has already decided to apply for ROTC to join during her fall semester of her freshman year of college, she emphasizes that students should do their research to find what’s best for them.

“[Students] should definitely know what they are getting into before they apply for [ROTC] because while it is a great program, it’s not for everyone. It’s a great way to pay for college but definitely do your research about it and what it means to be a part of the army and what the requirements are after you graduate because it’s going to be years of your life,” Geering said.

To end the presentation, Murillo spoke on behalf of the National Guard and explained its benefits as well as the key parts of the ROTC program. She mentioned the importance of students doing what works for them and what fits the lifestyle they wish to achieve.

“As a collective whole, you get the perks of all these benefits as if you are on active duty but you are here serving the community you are raised in. You need to start thinking about what you want to do and how you’re gonna be able to afford the lifestyle that you want to live because parents may not always be there. At the end of the day, you should do things for yourself,” Murillo said.