Shoemaker, Filling the Armies Shoes

“Enrolling to be in the army has been a challenge, but it just makes me want to work harder if nothing else.”
For junior Lamaria Shoemaker, taking night classes to graduate early and enlisting into the army are realities she chooses to live through during her remaining time at H-F.
“I have a brother that’s in the army and going through the process with him was pretty cool. Also, the benefits you can get from going is a major perk. They can help pay for college and the health benefits are amazing,” Shoemaker said.
Graduating as a junior takes a lot of planning ahead. The decision to leave friends and add on the extra stress is not a spur of the moment decision.
“I didn’t want to be pushed back in the process of enlisting into the army. Also, it has been a personal goal for myself since the beginning of high school to graduate early. So, taking the classes at Prairie State was just a necessary evil in order to reach my goal,” Shoemaker said.
Shoemaker took classes every Monday night at Prairie State in order to get enough credits to graduate early.
“The first thing I did in order to enlist in the army was get in touch with a sergeant. That part wasn’t hard because my brother was in the army already. However, the ASVAB test you had to take after enrolling was way more challenging than I thought. After all that, you go to a program called MEPS and that’s basically just a place to get your mind right before basic training,” Shoemaker said.
The ASVAB exam is similar to a placement exam for high school. You take the test and have to score between a 31-91 in order to even get to the next steps of enrolling.
After the test scores are given back, the person is then assigned a job according to how high or low they scored. For example, there are categories in Art, intelligence, engineering and more that a person can be tested in.
“The worst part was not being able to use a calculator during the math portion. I didn’t get the score I wanted at first because I definitely didn’t expect that. So, I ended up getting a tutor and scored much better the second time because of it,” Shoemaker said.
It is good to be acknowledged for the long hours of studying and accomplishments done so far in order to reach the goal of graduating early and scoring high on the test.
“One thing I know is that when Lamaria took her ASVAB test and didn’t get the score she wanted, she started coming in with her workbooks and going over things like electricity and things like that. In result, she nearly doubled her score the second time she took it,” physics teacher Robert Anderson said. “So, I think that really shows how determined she is and the kind of future she has because she’s willing to work this hard for her goals.”
The journey takes a lot of work and being prepared for the challenges to come is a good way to let out some of that stress.
“I know that the army is going to push my limits and I feel like some things I’m not going to be able to do. They’ll be able to test that and make me a stronger person emotionally and physically,” Shoemaker said.
Shoemaker’s friend, senior Cecilia Archbold, also plans on enrolling once her senior year ends. So, Shoemaker has someone with her for the years to come who can relate to going to drill and perfecting the jobs assigned.
“We didn’t make the decision to go to the army together, but now that it fell into place that way, we can progress together,” Archbold said. “I think Lamaria and I have similar personalities and bringing in that positive attitude to drill is a good way to keep a person going when all the challenges are thrown their way.”
The army isn’t the end of Shoemaker’s story.
“After basic training, I’m going to the reserves and then hopefully Illinois State University. I’m ready for whatever is planned for me so I’ll do what I have to do now and take it from there,” Shoemaker said.