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RECRUITERS HIT CLASSROOMS CAREER FAIR SPOTLIGHTS U.S. MILITARY.

Byline: Naush Boghossian Staff Writer

SANTA CLARITA - Army and Navy recruiters have a special interest in attracting Bowman High students to the armed forces - they received some of the highest scores in the valley on the aptitude test to enter military service.

Students at this alternative campus - many of them expelled from traditionally Santa Clarita high schools - excelled on the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery.

``You know who's the second-highest scorers on the ASVAB in this educational district?'' Sgt. Andrew Angarita, an Army recruiter, asked a roomful of students. Nobody knew the answer. ``You guys. Bowman High students.''

But the problem, he said, with the same students is commitment.

``You're nothing but a bunch of lazy people,'' said Angarita, all military in green uniform complete with medals, stripes and shiny boots. ``That's why you're here, not because you're dumb.''

Angarita said that the high ASVAB scores make Bowman students attractive recruits, but convincing them to join can be a struggle.

``They change their minds a lot,'' he said. ``But once they commit, they commit.''

Army and Navy recruiters took part in the school's two-day career fair along with representatives from different careers to expose students to fields including banking, nursing, writing, music and construction.

Adrian Arellano, 18, who has always been interested in becoming a police officer, said he will now consider joining the Navy after hearing the recruiter.

``I like to explore a lot of things,'' the senior said. ``And one of the best ways is to join the Navy and see the world.''

Students seemed interested in the monetary benefits of military service, including how much money they would or could make.

Navy recruiter Anita J. Farmer explained that submariners made more money, and students began to ask more questions about that course.

Angarita talked to students about the benefits of joining the Army, including the GI Bill, the Army College Fund and the Army Tuition Assistance.

``If you haven't listened to anything else today, listen to this,'' Angarita said. ``If you have a goal in life, find a way to use your service to this country to get there. If you want to be a CPA, serve the Army as an accountant and have them pay for the degree.''

Ryen Farnworth, who had no interest in the Army or the Navy before the career fair, plans on talking to Angarita and attending another recruiting event after he heard about the benefits.

``I want to jump out of planes - to be a parachuter,'' Farnworth said. ``I need to get more information because it was not as much as I need.''

A handful of students, including junior Brett Wyman, attended the recruiters' session already interested in military service. They walked out wanting to hear more.

``I'm still thinking about it, but I want to get more information by hearing what others have to say,'' said Wyman, 17, who's also interested in the Navy.

Although Farmer said recruiters have not noticed increased interest in joining the Navy, Angarita said that interest in the Army has definitely been on the rise post-Sept. 11. The class of 2002 is the first group of graduates since the attacks on New York City and Washington, D.C.

``It is a sense of patriotism that drives them,'' Angarita said. ``They don't know about the benefits, but they have a commitment to serve.''

Wyman said his interest in joining the Army has vacillated since Sept. 11. The thought of fighting in a war scared him, but serving his country increased his desire to join.

Farnworth, 17, who's also weighing the options of joining the service, said that Sept. 11 definitely heightened his interest in military service.

``I want to fight for my country,'' the junior said. ``I have pride for my country, and I want to fight for it and to keep my freedom.''

CAPTION(S):

2 photos

Photo:

(1 -- color) Students at Bowman High School, a continuation campus, received some of the highest scores in the Santa Clarita Valley on the aptitude test to enter military service.

(2 -- color) Sgt. Andrew Angarita, an Army recruiter, talks to Bowman High students about the military as part of a two-day job fair.

David R. Crane/Staff Photographer
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Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:May 21, 2002
Words:700
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