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High School Students Honored for their Military Commitments

Discover how an educator and military veteran is ensuring high school seniors deciding to join the military receive a glorious recognition.

Shawna Newman

February 04, 2021

High School Students Honored for their Military Commitments
The 2021 event will be hosted by celebrities and prominent military members from all U.S. military branches.
In addition to financial aid and scholarships, there are many paths students can take to help them pay for college, including enlisting in the military. While this route is not traditionally a first choice among high school students their senior year (or their parents), joining the Armed Forces has its rewards—not to mention the honorable commitment to serve our country. The concept of joining the military verses enrolling in college after graduation, has taken a back seat in public schools in comparison to the pomp and circumstance college-bound seniors typically receive. adds, “School districts, high schools and families rightly make a big deal about students getting accepted to college. But universities aren’t the only destination for graduating high school seniors.” Our Community Salutes is a national, non-profit organization working to highlight the grandeur of the military enlistment decision. Created by an educator and U.S. Army veteran, Dr. Kenneth Harman, OSC helps communities support high school seniors enlisting in the U.S. Armed Services after their high school graduation ceremony via the annual America Salutes ceremony. Other OSC sponsored community events occur across the United States support enlistee parents/guardians.

America Salutes! 2021

According to OCS, the 2021 America Salutes—the master ceremony—will premiere via livestream on July 4 and will air several times in July and August of 2021. This event will be hosted by celebrities and prominent military members from all U.S. branches, with special, high-profile messages thanking students for their decision to serve our country. In 2020, the America Salutes celebration featured guest speaker, CPT Christopher Cassidy a NASA astronaut and the Commander of Expedition 63. reports the “virtual event reached more than 11,000 viewers.”
Virtual attendees were also greeted with thank you messages from country music artist, Brantley Gilbert; Michigan State University coach, Tom Izzo; Grammy nominated singer/songwriter, Jewel; American actor, Robert Patrick and many more.

Community-Hosted Ceremonies for Student Enlistees

In addition to the primary ceremony, parents, educators, and business leaders organize OCS ceremony events across the nation each year. These local events lift up students, parents, and families as they transition into the military. According to and Hartman, “tens of thousands” of high school enlistees have been honored by “hundreds of thousands” of community members since 2009. Students receive an OCS certificate of recognition, a U.S. Constitution pocket guide, and various gifts from OCS sponsors. The U.S. territory and states participating in community-level OCS events include: • Arizona • California • Delaware • Florida • Hawaii • Georgia • Indiana • Louisiana • Massachusetts • Michigan • Minnesota • New Hampshire • New Jersey • New York • Pennsylvania • South Carolina • Texas • Virginia • Puerto Rico Nearly 40 city, counties or regions from these states and U.S. territory offer OSC receptions within their communities.

OCS Connect

Understanding the importance of higher education and the advantages of a college degree, the program also offers students and their parents OCS Connect. This additional layer of support provides resources and information on how to pursue a university degree and field training while serving. Enlistees can also learn about Veterans benefits programs they can use after they have served in the military.

Military Scholarships

If you are a high school senior who plans on enlisting in the Air Force, Space Force, Navy, Marines, Army, Coast Guard or Army National Guard (or you are a current military service member), there are many financial aid opportunities and military scholarships available to help you pay for school. Other Fastweb articles and resources you may find helpful includes: Enlisting in the Military to Help You Pay for College GI Bill Overview What’s the FSEOG Grant? Online Learning Resource Center Looking for more military-related information? Contact a recruiter to learn more about the educational benefits offered by the military or visit

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Shawna Newman

Managing Editor, Contributing Writer

Shawna Newman is the Managing Editor and a writer at Fastweb. She has over 10 years of experience in higher education. Her direct work with college admissions teams, financial aid officers, college deans, ...

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