The news site of Glenbrook South High School.

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The news site of Glenbrook South High School.

The Oracle

The news site of Glenbrook South High School.

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Loved ones fight for our country

Senior CC Hoogland and her brother sophomore Sam Hoogland’s lives were altered when their oldest brother, McLain Hoogland, joined the Marines after college—a path none of their siblings have yet to take.

“I have five brothers and sisters and they’ve all done their different things, but they’re all kind of similar: you go to college, you graduate and you get a job,” CC explained. “But [McLain] went to college and then joined the military, which is so different. I admire him for having the guts to be different, because it’s easy to just follow what everyone else is doing.”

According to CC, one of the reasons McLain joined the military was because he wanted a chance to experience what it felt like to fight for his country, something that their dad regretted never doing.

McLain is currently fighting in Afghanistan. While his family is very proud of his decision to serve overseas, they are also worried.

“Right now I just imagine him training, but just in Afghanistan,” CC said. “I can never really imagine him in combat, so sometimes that makes it easier that I can’t place him anywhere.”

Sam expressed similar thoughts about his brother serving in the military.

“Having a brother in the military is really weird,” Sam said. “It makes me feel a little nervous whenever I think about him. It also makes me very proud to say that my brother is in the marines and in Afghanistan.”

In efforts to make McLain feel more at home, his family sends care packages about three times each month.  In one care package, the Hooglands sent him books to read, which, according to CC, is one of the little things they do to include him even though he isn’t at home.

“We try to keep him updated with magazines, books and movies,” CC said. “Over winter break, my whole family read The Hunger Games, and so my siblings [felt], ‘Well, McLain has to read them if all five of us did.’”

McLain recalled a story of which his friend’s initials appeared on a list of soldiers hurt in combat, so he assumed his friend had been killed. After a brief panic attack, McLain realized that it was a different man’s initials.

“Stories like that just show that everything is on the line, and one moment could change everything,” CC said. “That’s his best friend out there, and all of a sudden he sees that and it’s just […] panic.”

Sam also shared one of the stories that McLain told them.

“He told us that when he was in a car, the car behind him was blown up,” Sam said. “No one died but it still made [our family] very nervous.”

According to CC, his personality has not changed since he joined the marines, but he has become more patient and understanding. Additionally, he has gained appreciation for what he has in life.

Although neither Sam nor CC would join the military, they would recommend it to people that could handle it.

“McLain tells us about the training and how disciplined you have to be,” Sam said. “So, if someone feels like they are immature, or need to be more disciplined then it could be smart to join, and also it seems really fun, you get to learn how to shoot, and you go on obstacle courses. It gets you in really good shape.”

Because of his brother, Sam has an increased interest in the war in Afghanistan.

“I find myself reading and learning more about the war,” Sam said. “Before, I had never really thought about the war, but because of McLain, I have definitely taken an interest in what is happening.”

According to CC, McLain has developed strong leadership skills while serving in the Marines. Her family is very proud of him for the values he is learning and the kind of person he is becoming.

“Whenever we talk to him on the phone, we always have to talk to him around 10 p.m., and [we ask him], ‘Why do we talk to you so late?’” CC said. “[He responds,] ‘Well I let all my men [use the phone] first, and then I come in.’ That makes me really happy because it means he is learning to put others in front of himself; it’s the ultimate selfless thing to do.”

Senior Amber Gonzalez-Ontiveros has wanted to join the Navy ever since she was a kid. Her dad, who has been in the Navy her entire life, inspired her the most.

“I think [the fact that he’s in the military] is really great,” Gonzalez-Ontiveros said. “Having a dad that’s in the Navy has already given me some insight about what to do in the future.”

Gonzalez-Ontiveros said her father is currently an instructor for recruits that want to join the Navy.

“[The recruits] have to go through this one station which is basically [where they] learn how to shoot a gun correctly and how to work the gun and make sure that they hit the target accurately,” Gonzalez-Ontiveros said.

Gonzalez-Ontiveros’ father was one of the first in his family to join the Navy, and she believes it positively affected him.

“It really changed his perspective on a lot of things that he was pretty negative about before,” Gonzalez-Ontiveros said. “[…] He had actually joined with his best friend at the time, and I guess it kind of motivated him to go in, and ever since then he was very, very glad that he made that decision. He didn’t regret it at all.”

While Gonzalez-Ontiveros remains supportive, she acknowledged the difficulties of having a loved one in the military.

“You have a greater sense of what people sacrifice every single day,” Gonzalez-Ontiveros said. “There are people whose parents leave for a month or two at a time, but having someone close to you leave for eight to ten months, that’s a long time.”

Although this kind of lifestyle is not for everyone, Gonzalez-Ontiveros has embraced it and even decided to join it. Her interest in the Navy deepened when she attended the United States Naval Sea Cadet Corps (NSCC) program in California.

“I started out when I was about 10 years old and I got to do some pretty cool training,” Gonzalez-Ontiveros said. “I went to San Francisco for some leadership training. I got to stay on an aircraft carrier for two weeks, and I got my pilot’s permit.”

The NSCC is like a Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) for younger kids, according to Gonzalez-Ontiveros.

ROTC is an elective curriculum taken with required college classes. A student can receive a scholarship in return for an obligation of military service after graduation, according to

By joining the Navy, Gonzalez-Ontiveros will be given the chance to give back to her country and gain life experience.

“[The core values of the navy are] honor, courage and commitment,” Gonzalez-Ontiveros said. “Those are a lot of the values they would teach you [along with] pride, [discipline] and determination.”

Gonzalez-Ontiveros recommends the military to students who do not have plans to go to traditional college.

“It’s a great opportunity,” Gonzalez-Ontiveros said. “You can [be in] college while you’re in the military, you get to travel the world, [and] it’s a really, really, great job. I just got to experience it a little bit before most people.”

Gonzalez-Ontiveros believes not many people understand what life is like for military families.

“I feel like a lot of people don’t really know how much these people, men and women [sacrifice] every day, and not a lot of people know that and, they just kind of forget that we do have a military and that they just go out every day,” Gonzalez-Ontiveros said.



Sophomore Lindsey George was born in California, but ended up moving to Glenview because her dad had to change naval stations. He is a health care administrator for the hospital on the base.

“[My dad joined the Navy because] he wanted to get out of his hometown and find a job,” George said.

She explained how being in the Navy has affected her dad as a person.

“[Being in the Navy has] taught him to be considerate of others, to be a team player, it has given him better opportunities as being a leader, and has taught him to have more patience and look out for people even more,” George said.

She explained how her dad being in the Navy has affected her life.

“We move a lot,” George said. “We’ve had to move several times, and it was kind of crazy, but we got used to his work schedule and having to move away from friends.”

Although her dad has been on shifts, he’s never really been deployed to other countries, according to George.

“I’m proud of [my dad for being in the Navy] but there’s a higher chance of him being deployed now,” George said. “And I really don’t want him to go.”

Fortunately, he has not had to go, and tries to stay in the United States.

“[My dad tries to stay in the US] because of our family members,” George said. “And keeping close relationships with them.”

Her family is always worried that he could get deployed, but understand his life. Many of her uncles, aunts, grandparents, great-grandparents and even some of her cousins have served in the military, according to George.

“He’s told us about some of the issues that have come up with his work,” George said. “He’s also told us about our other family members who have served in the Vietnam War and V-day.”

However, George is not very interested in joining like much of her family has.

“I wouldn’t want to live that type of way because it would be restricted,” George said, “You have to do exactly what they say and you don’t have a lot of freedom; the military owns you.”

George recommends the military for people who are sure they want to commit to it.

“People need to put in a lot of hard work and be able to accept and do what people tell you to do, without question. You have to follow the rules and stuff like that unless you want to get kicked out”

The commercials about joining the Army could make some people believe that the military is easy, but this is not the case, according to George.

“It’s harder than it seems,” she said, “It definitely gives you a different perspective about things, and makes you grateful for having parents who are around.”

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