The following was written by Nikki S., a 9th-grade AVID student:
Alison Pienta and Randy Schnell visited the Sigonella High School AVID class. They came to talk about life in college and what they do at the present. Both Alison and Randy went to Catholic universities and are in the U.S. Army. Alison and Randy are also communication officers stationed in New York.
Alison earned a bachelor's degree in sociology. She attended the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Massachusetts. She received a scholarship from ROTC and joined the Army for four years. She served in Kuwait for one year building a hospital and other facilities. Alison has been stationied in Iraq for four months and has seven months to go.
Randy Schnell attended Notre Dame College of Ohio in Cleveland, Ohio. He also joined the Army for four years. Randy went to a community college for two years before attending the Catholic school. He also served in Kuwait for four years and earned a bronze star medal for his accomplishments. Soon he will be stationed in Afghanistan.
Having Alison and Randy come to class was very nice. They shared their experiences with the class we were able to get insight into what it is like to be a student in a Catholic college and an officer in the Army. It was a very intriguing period.
Other comments by students:
"Our class received a lot of helpful information from their visit to our class. They described options as far as scholarships, methods to manage money, and also how religious colleges may differ from a normal university." (Tayler G.)
"Alison explained that she was tempted to quit because at times it was very difficult. She continued to pull through and graduated from Holy Cross." (Jen P.)
"The two had a lot to offer us in our learning of going to college. They've taught us the differences but mainly similarities between a religiously-affiliated school and a non-religiously-affiliated school. However, the main thing they've taught us is what college has to give back." (Ruben S.)
"I am glad they came in to talk about their college and work experiences. I feel that it is always good to have people come in and talk about themselves because it really almost sets some kids in the direction that they didn't really realize they wanted to go in. " (Leah J.)
"I learned that religiously affiliated colleges help around the community. It really made me think about those types of colleges." (Marco M.)
"Having them come here made me think more about joining the military and going to college. They made me want to do btter in school in receive a Navy ROTC scholarship and pursue a career in the Navy." (Joem B.)