Naperville Central High School's award-winning newspaper.

Central Times

Naperville Central High School's award-winning newspaper.

Central Times

Naperville Central High School's award-winning newspaper.

Central Times

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Senior graduating early, to join Reconnaissance Marines Corps

Senior Daniel Melsa will graduate this month and join the U.S. Marines Corps in January. (Photo courtesy of Daniel Melsa)

Every day at 5 a.m., Central senior Daniel Melsa wakes up to train.

He begins his first workout with swimming or running until 7 a.m.. Then after school, he continues with 2-3 more hours of training. He does push-ups, pull-ups and memorizes different knots, all in preparation to be a U.S. reconnaissance marine.

But Melsa didn’t always want to join the military. His Sophomore year, he wanted to be a financial planner.

“It was just kind of like a pipe dream; it wasn’t really like I thought through it,” Melsa said. “College [just] wasn’t something that I really wanted to do.”

Melsa didn’t find his passion in school in general, whether it was high school or college. Instead, Melsa will graduate a semester early his senior year for his military dreams.

“My grandpa was in the Korean War, and he taught me the value that every young man should serve this country in one way or another,” Melsa said. “I leaned towards the military because that’s something I could do.”

Melsa will have a two year training period, per a contract with his reconnaissance group of the Marine Corps. He will have basic training, a month of school infantry and then will attend a number of other specific schools for training. He will come back to Naperville in between training.

“The [amount of] time [I come back to Naperville is] only about 10 days,” Melsa said. “Then you have to go to Recon School, Jump School, Dive School, Ranger School, SERE School and then Urban Survival School.”

Melsa’s decision is tough on his family. Still, they are supportive of his choice.

“My mom cries every night about it; my sister does as well,” Melsa said. “Everyone’s sad about it, but my dad, my stepmom and my stepdad [are] always telling me how much this [will help] society.”

Melsa was motivated while listening to Dr. Sudip Bose speak at the Veterans Day assembly on Nov. 9 about his experience as an emergency physician for The Army.

“It just gave me an insight of what I was looking forward to and some of my fears as well as the reality of what [it’s going to be] like,” Melsa said.

Melsa said he’s been positively influenced by communication arts  teacher Barry Baldwin, who also advised him on his career.

“He’s always been really supportive of the military and he is someone I look up to,” Melsa said. “He was never in the military, but he knows people that were and he’s been the most impactful teacher of my whole career at Central.”

Baldwin reciprocates this respect to Melsa. Baldwin thinks Melsa graduating early shows his dedication to this country.

“He’s going to go into a field that can be very dangerous, but a lot of people go out in [dangerous fields] so you always wish the best for all students,” Baldwin said. “He’s got the character and the determination to succeed in the goals that he has set for himself to protect our country. I’m very thankful for Daniel making that decision.”

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About the Contributor
Elaine Zhou, Features Editor
Elaine Zhou is a junior, and this is her second year with Central Times. Elaine is a lover of all types of writing- especially ones telling the stories of people around her. Along with being a student journalist, she is the vice president of Chinese Club, a staff of Literary Magazine, a member of Yearbook and a violinist. She is currently addicted to retail therapy, stationary and is gaslighting herself to like biology for the rest of her life. 
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