It’s a tag team. From Valley Forge Military Academy to Cabrini, two students eager to continue their training, have no fear jumping right into Cabrini’s campus.
The tag team of Casi Purcell and Brooks Severson are a match to be had; not only are they boyfriend and girlfriend, but they both discovered that the military was the right place for them.
“I was always interested in the military,” Purcell said. “I have family in the Air Force and Army.” Purcell had the option of choosing between the Army and Air Force but she decided on the Army. “I fell in love with the Army at Valley Forge Academy,” Purcell said. “I’m very familiar with the structure.”
On the other hand, Severson is originally from Chicago, Ill. In his senior year in high school he wasn’t too sure what he wanted to do. “I searched the Internet one day, and saw the scholarship for the academy,” Severson said. “One day I flew out early in the morning, had an interview and was back by nightfall.” Severson was accepted to the academy for two years.
The Academy at Valley Forge is 7th-12th grade, while the college is a junior college; it only enrolls freshmen and sophomores. “I finished my freshman year at Valley Forge,” Purcell said. “Then I was offered a scholarship from Cabrini and Eastern University.” Purcell chose Cabrini. “It’s a small campus, and it’s not spread out,” Purcell said.
Severson finished out his two years at the academy, but soon chose Cabrini, specifically because all his credits transferred over. “I didn’t want to have to take classes over again,” Severson said. By doing the early commission program, which is the two years at the academy, everything is accelerated. “You have to learn quick and fast,” Purcell said. “You have more classes than the average student, for instance you have six classes in a day,” Severson said.
The school day has to end at 4 p.m. unlike Cabrini where the day could end at 9 p.m. After regular classes are over there is ROTC training (Reserve Officer Training Corps) or to attend mandatory activities. “There are also labs at night,” Purcell said. “We are taught, or we do the teaching.” The labs involve battle drills and learning to take care of yourself in different environments.
“I met Brooks there,” Purcell said. “He was the one doing the teaching.” Severson was already on his way to graduating from the academy. Severson is currently in the Army Reserve, which is basically the Army. “It’s just another component,” Severson said. The lineup of people begins with the commander, then the executive who is what Severson is, then there is the first sergeant then everyone else. “When I get an order, I must execute it,” Severson said.
A typical day at the academy is waking up, doing PT, which is physical training; then first formation, which you watch the flag go up; then classes; then mandatory parade practices; then cornerstone, which is where motivational speakers come and motivate them through their training. “I played volleyball, and was an exhibition drill team member,” Purcell said. “We would throw rifles up in the air.”
After she leaves Cabrini she wants to go straight to active duty in the Army. “I fell in love,” Purcell said. “Basic training doesn’t conflict with school, so that’s a plus.” This way Purcell can focus on her major at Cabrini, which is criminology, which she hopes to become a military police officer.
Purcell and Severson both agreed that the benefits of joining the military are great. “I wanted to serve,” Purcell said. “But the benefits are a plus.” Right now the school is only paying for federal tuition assistance. Since Purcell did not finish her IAT (Individual Advanced Training) the academy won’t pay for college in full, but this summer Purcell will be finishing her training therefore after this summer it will be paid in full.
“My original plan was to finish at Valley Forge,” Purcell said, “but the opportunity of a scholarship was placed in front of me and I decided to take it.”