From average Joe to G.I. Joe


The teen years are probably the most difficult time in a person’s life. There are teens who make positive and negative decisions that will make them who they are in life. Some kids decide to make decisions that will affect their life in a negative way. Some kids decide to use these years wisely and make decisions that will affect their life in a positive way. Golden Valley High senior Tyler Schumann is one teenager that has decided to focus on the positives and his future.

At 17, Schumann decided to make what was according to him, “The biggest decision of my life.”  Tyler decided to enlist in the military. Two months after committing to the military, On June 16, 2014, Tyler left home and boarded a plane to Fort Jackson, S.C. After staying at Fort Jackson for five days, Tyler began his basic combat training. Staying at Fort Jackson, Tyler says, “It was a life changing experience.”

He was a squad leader and was promoted to Private 2nd Class in the span of two months and completed Basic Combat Training and graduated from BCT on Aug. 28.  The experience of basic training was a difficult one. Being away from home for the first time is a challenge for anyone, however for a 17-year-old boy being in the Army and away from home can be a huge culture shock. Tyler who was born in Southern California was now in South Carolina surrounded by people from across the whole world, even as far as China, and his thoughts were, “Eye opening to life outside of Southern California different social classes, backgrounds.”

After coming home from Basic Training, Tyler came back to Golden Valley for his senior year. Coming back to school, his peers and teachers have seen a huge improvement in Tyler’s attitudes and character. Tyler’s sports broadcasting teacher at Golden Valley, Tony Moskal said, “Tyler has really matured as a person and is more focused and a lot more caring.”

When I asked Tyler his reason for joining the military he told me, “To improve myself and serve my country at the same time.”

Most high school kids don’t really think this way but Tyler is a special person.

“Once I returned and re-connected with my friends I realized that there was a difference in mentality.  It seemed that I had more common sense than they did and they continued to do immature things that I felt were not the smartest things to do.” 

Now that he’s back in high school with those same peers Tyler hopes that his maturity rubs off on some of his friends.

“When I talk to my friends about their decisions I try to help them and explain that what they’re doing isn’t really smart and the real world is going to laugh at them.” 

Being an example in high school is tough because kids take things for granted. “It’s funny because when it rains at school I see kids panicking and running for cover because they’re a bit wet. When I was participating in a field training exercise it rained for three days straight. I had to sleep in a hole filled with water and mud for that time.” 

Tyler now is focused on finishing high school, and getting prepared to depart to Fort Leonard Wood, Mo., for Advanced Individual Training any time between June through August. After that he plans to attend Airborne School and further his military career. Hopefully more people will take after Tyler and further themselves for the betterment of their country and other people.  Golden Valley High is fortunate to have people like Tyler in their student body.

—Andrew Flores