AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORE11 theater productions to see in Southern California this week, Dec. 27-Jan. 2Hart High School counselor Mario Mercado said that three students are headed for the Air Force, three to the Army, two to the Navy and seven are joining the Marines. Several Canyon High graduates are joining the Army, including Sanford Jones, Greg Thompson, Garrett Gordon, Bobby Brown, Jennifer Restivo and Danny Brutz. Cameron Beckett is headed for the Air Force Academy and Tyler Hawkins has earned an appointment to the Naval Academy at Annapolis. Ilene Blok at Saugus High said that senior Brett Santana is headed for the Air Force Academy and Robert Doyle is going to the West Point Naval Academy; in addition, joining the Army will be Richard Burns and Armen DerNersesian. An honors student at College of the Canyons is even getting into the mix. Christopher Marcial’s parents wanted him to be a “professional student” and made him a deal to help him succeed in college after graduating last year from Hart High. In lieu of working his way through college, the Marcials offered to pay Christopher what he would make if he took an entry-level job – on the condition that he work hard at school. On June 8, Marcial is set to graduate with honors from College of the Canyons at the age of 18, having achieved his two-year degree in biology. But Marcial plans to take a diversion from school for a little bit. He starts Marine boot camp on June 18. “I’ve been thinking about it since I was about 15 or 16,” he said. “I feel lucky to be an American and feel like it’s my duty to serve. This country has given a lot to us and to my family.” Asked how he feels about the situation in the Middle East, Marcial hesitated slightly. “I’m real patriotic, I feel if I was sent to serve there, I think that freedom does need to be experienced by other countries. As Americans we have a responsibility to spread freedom because we are so blessed with it. “I’ve seen videos of people in Iraq and people dying; that kind of thing can happen to anyone in the military and it makes me scared, but if that’s what I need to do for us, it needs to be done. I’m excited about the challenge of becoming a Marine and traveling to see other places in the world.” Thompson, who will be trained in interrogation techniques that he hopes will lead to a career with the Central Intelligence Agency, said that he is carrying on a military legacy handed down from his grandfather. “My mother is anxious,” he said, referring to the conflict he might join in Iraq. “I was in ROTC for three-and-a-half years and a lot of my friends also signed up. I know one of them wanted to do something better with his life.” Jones, who hopes to become an airborne ranger, will ship out Aug. 1 and is looking forward to a new adventure. “It sounded like fun,” he said. “A lot of my friends say I’m gonna die, but I tell them everyone has to die sometime, that’s inevitable. My parents are happy and supportive.” Jones, who credits his military inspiration to friend and fellow Canyon student Ricardo Chinchilla, who served as an airborne ranger, is the first in his family to join the military, much to the delight of his younger brothers. He describes his sister as “neutral” on the issue. “She’s trying to put up a brave front for me,” he said. [email protected] (661)257-5252160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! SANTA CLARITA – Despite increasing casualties in Iraq and the war’s growing unpopularity, the graduating class of 2006 is stepping up to serve its country. Over the last four years, an average of 4 percent of local high school graduates have enlisted in the military around graduation time, according to the William S. Hart Union High School District. This year’s figures aren’t in yet, but several students are headed for boot camp – and quite possibly, to war. At Bowman High School, nearly 20 students have signed up and either have taken basic training or are ready to go in, according to counselor Suzy Mansfield.