Precinct 333

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

School Disses Marine Graduates

Some folks are just plain ashamed of patriotism. That seems to be the case with administrators at Warren Township High School in Gurnee, Illinois. They are denying two early graduates permission to wear their Marine dress blues when they receive their diploma at the district's Memorial Day weekend graduation.

Brenten Kostner, 19, and John Shymanik, 17, graduated early in December to become Marines. They hope to attend the graduation ceremony wearing their dress-blue uniforms during a 10-day leave from boot camp.

However, the Marines’ mothers said they’ve been told by school officials their sons must wear Warren-issued caps and gowns like everyone else during the May 28 graduation event at Northwestern University.

Kostner’s mother, Julie Hamil, said Warren District 121’s position doesn’t make sense. She said the young men are against covering themselves with the caps and gowns because they want their peers to see their pride in becoming successful graduates as Marines.

“I’m shocked,” Hamil said. “Do you only show your patriotism when something bad happens?”

Hamil appealed to the District 121 board Monday night. Outgoing school board President Mari Carlson directed administrators to re-examine their stance on the uniforms.

“These are special times we live in,” Carlson said.

Nearly 350 students and teachers at Warren signed a petition Monday requesting Kostner and Shymanik be allowed to wear the dress uniforms. Kostner’s sisters, Sherri and Audrey Hamil, circulated the petition.

Here's hoping that a little bit of common sense prevails here.

Contact the district and the school to comment.


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