05-30-2019 Schools News & Calendars

MILITARY FUTURE… Hartford High School senior Monserrat Requenes (right) and her mother Angelica Mireles. Monse, who is soon to be a fifth-generation U.S. Marine, was awarded the Military Service Cord by the Southwest Michigan Chapter of the Blue Star Mothers of America at the Hartford High School Senior Academic Awards Ceremony on May 16, 2019.


Hartford High School senior bound for U.S. Marines

By Nancy Albright Hartford High School senior Monserrat (Monse) Requenes will soon become part of a long-standing family tradition of serving in the U.S. Marine Corps dating back to WWII.

Monse was awarded the Military Service Cord at Hartford’s Senior Academic Awards Ceremony on May 16 by the Southwest Michigan Chapter of the Blue Star Mother’s of America, which she will wear with her cap and gown during her high school graduation ceremony on May 31.

“I’ve been researching the Marines since I was 11 years old. I thought I would give it a shot since so many generations of my family have served, and I will be the first woman in my family to join. I can go to college on the G.I. Bill and the military can help me find a job depending on my chosen field. They also help soldiers and their families with home loans, car loans and insurance.

“I’ve thought about a long-term career in the military to reach the highest rank in the Marines,” said Monse. “I’ve also thought about helping kids heal physically through art and musical therapy at a place like St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital.” She played clarinet and flute in middle school and is a self-taught pianist––her favorite piece to play is Beethoven’s Fur Elise. “I’ve always loved art,” declared Monse. She has taken art classes since elementary school where she learned to draw, paint and work in clay, and completed the Print Media Program at Van Buren Tech where she studied digital arts while simultaneously working toward her high school diploma. “I learned that I may also be able to take classes on the G.I. Bill while I’m away, possibly from teachers the military provides from the University of Michigan, Western Michigan and other universities.” She is interested in graphic arts and architecture and hopes to take classes toward a potential military track in architectural relations. “I recently met a former Marine, from Lane Automotive in Dowagiac, who painted for the military and then painted for the Air Zoo in Kalamazoo.”

Monse was awarded South Haven’s Ward 1 Community Foundation Internship with the South Haven Center for the Arts in 2017 where she taught children’s art classes. She still volunteers for the South Haven Art Fair and other art center events and received the SHCA Student Volunteer of the Year Award for Outstanding Service in 2018. “I enjoy working with kids and feel like the internship helped me further my experiences with the basic resources of life, like working on a team, respecting the knowledge of others and learning from them, and meeting new people.”

Monse is part of the Deployed Entry Program at the Benton Harbor National Guard Services Enlistment Facility where she has been training since she enlisted last fall. The Marine basic physical test requires recruits to swim three miles, walk three miles in 28 minutes carrying a 50-pound pack through difficult terrain, and complete 50 curl-ups in two minutes. “I’m up to 43,” said Monse.

She played soccer, softball and basketball in high school and was a member of the HHS soccer team that won the Southwest 10 Conference Championship in 2018 and 2019. She gets up at 4:30 in the morning to walk or run two miles with her cousin, grandmother, sister Mercedes, and mother Angelica. Angelica and Mercedes wore t-shirts to the Senior Academic Awards that said Proud Mother and Sister of a Future Marine, respectively. “Of course, we are nervous for Monse to be in the military, but we support her decision. We are very proud of her choice to carry on the family tradition and work to get what she wants out of life,” said Angelica.

When asked about what she will do this summer before leaving for Marine Basic Training in Parris Island, South Carolina this fall, Monse said she will keep her job as lifeguard at Safari Joe’s Water Park in Watervliet and plans to visit family in California and go white water rafting in Tennessee. “I will miss Michigan and my family–I miss them already and I haven’t even left–but I know there is a whole world out there just waiting for me, and I plan to take advantage of all the military has to offer.”

One of Monse’s goals for the military is to travel. “I would like to go to Okinawa, Japan, Germany, places I haven’t even thought of yet. I will be able to go to Japan because I’m grandfathered in by my ancestors that have served in the Marines.” She would also like to see Monserrat someday–her namesake–which is a small island in the Caribbean known for the Soufriere Hills volcano, and its coral reefs and black sand beaches.

Watervliet Public Schools Calendar of Events Thursday, May 30 South School Field Day; 5th Grade Bowling & Kids Corner, 9:00 a.m.; Girls-On-The-Run 5K at Berrien County Fairgrounds, 6:30 p.m.; MS Spring Choir Concert, HS Auditorium, 7:00 p.m. Friday, May 31 (South School Field Day Rain Date) Varsity Soccer District Final at New Buffalo, 6:00 p.m.; Class of 2019 WHS Commencement Ceremony, Panther Stadium, 6:30 p.m. Saturday, June 1 Rocket Football Sign-up at North School, 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.; Baseball & Softball District Games at Bloomingdale, 12:30 p.m.; Baseball & Softball District Finals at Bloomingdale, 3:00 p.m. Monday, June 3 North School Spelling Bee, 8:30 a.m.; 4th Grade to