He stepped out of his mom’s car with a smile, the bright sun shining on his face. After years of schoolwork, everything was finally coming to an end.
But as soon as he stepped on the staircase leading to the school’s main entrance, the principal asked the security guard to stop him. What he said would more than break his heart.
A Happy Day
But for Jonathan Schofield, this was supposed to be among the happiest days of his life. He was finally clearing high school, a feat that most of us look forward to.
He was ready for the next phase of his life, eager to embrace whatever adventures the universe would throw his way. But he had no idea how bad this would be for him.
A Valid Dream
You see, Jonathan was unlike many of his peers. While students in his class were focused on parties and trying to find dates for prom, Jon was working on ways to make his lineage proud.
For the longest time, he’d wanted to serve his country as a marine and had hoped that by the age of thirty, he’d have a few medals to show his loved ones. But his dream would seemingly come back to bite him before it had even begun.
A Long Line Of Service Members
Jon came from a long line of service members. His great-grandfather had served in the First and Second World Wars, while his granddad had served in Vietnam.
His dad had done several tours in Afghanistan alongside two of his big brothers and sister. So when it came time for Jon to choose his career path, he knew exactly where his heart lay.
A Proper Young Man
Being raised in a military house ensured Jon grew up as a proper young man. By the age of fifteen, he was in peak physical shape and had excellent grades in school.
He was courageous yet respectful, with a giving heart that quickly made him a favorite among the hundreds of students in Oregon’s East Bridge High School.
But none of these students would’ve guessed why their favorite schoolmate wouldn’t attend that year’s graduation ceremony.
Layers Like An Onion
But Jon’s life wasn’t always as black and white as many in his school thought. Although he led a simple life and was always ready to help anyone who needed a hand, he was a man of many layers.
At the tender age of six, he gazed wide-eyed at the world, dreaming of a future gladdened with possibilities. He’d always loved education and what promises it whispered into his young years. But he couldn’t have predicted how tragic it would end.
What seemingly set everything in motion was an unexpected turn that left Jon’s life in shambles. He’d just graduated from middle to high school when he lost his sister, Cassie.
She’d been older than him by five years and had been serving in the Marine Corps when she passed. Losing her left a void in Jon’s heart, turning him into a path he’d never considered.
Choosing A Path
For Jon, clearing high school and attending college had always been the plan. But he’d also flirted with the idea of joining the force to serve and protect his country.
But with the loss of his sister, his interests started turning him toward the latter. As the days turned into months, he began seeing himself in the Marine Corps instead of college. Was he wrong for thinking this way?
Telling His Mom
As someone who grew up in a military household, the prospect of joining the Marine Corps didn’t seem strange or far-fetched. So Jon spent a few weeks ironing out his plan before he could share it with anyone.
The first person he shared the news with was his mom, who he was also close with. But his mom’s response to the revelation would leave him doubting his goals.
Why Is He Joining?
Jon’s mom asked him if he was joining the army because everyone in the family seemingly took that route or if it’s something he actually wanted to do.
His mom didn’t want him to step into that life when his heart wasn’t in it. But Jon’s motive was a very different one. It would show his mom that he’d genuinely thought everything through.
A Good Reason
“I want to do it because I know it’s right,” a calm Jon answered. “I want to make all of you proud, especially Cassie.”
His mom’s eyes grew wet as he continued talking, revealing how he had always told Cassie he’d join the Corp as soon as he finished college so they could serve together. “I just want her to be proud of me, Mom,” he said.
He Is Capable Of Anything
“She is,” his mom answered while wiping her tears. “But don’t do it for her alone. Do it because it’s what you want.” She knew how gifted her son was.
With his spectacular grades, he could take on any profession he put his mind to, bringing prestige to himself and their household without stepping into any battlefield. So what did Jon think about that?
The Perfect Balance
“I’m hoping to join the Corp and continue my education,” he revealed. Jon wanted to do it all. He would serve in the Corp as those who came before him while balancing that with his education.
Seeing that her son had his mind made up, Jon’s mom agreed to support him. And so, with the help of everyone in his family, Jon embarked on a mission to clear high school while simultaneously gearing up for the Marine Corps.
The Marine Recruit Training
The journey was long and arduous. But it was only a matter of time before Jon found himself at the Marine Recruit Training, ready to start his journey.
He was a senior in high school with all his studies behind him. He’d already made his parents proud by topping most of his classes and was only waiting for graduation. But Jon couldn’t focus on that now. He had bigger fish to fry.
The Perfect Being
The boot camp was unlike anything Jon had ever encountered. He was no stranger to strenuous activities that tested one’s physical and mental endurance, but this was something else.
By the time he cleared his months at the boot camp, he’d transformed into a completely different person.
The training had sculpted him into the perfect individual, a bright, decisive, and physically capable being that could take on anything. So when the principal stopped him at the door, he’d get precisely what was coming for him.
The School of Infantry
Jon cleared the Marine Recruit Training with flying colors, enrolling to attend the School of Infantry, which he also aced in ten weeks. His family was proud of him and held celebrations to show him how much this meant to them.
Jon even visited his sister’s memorial to talk to her, telling her he was on his way to becoming a service person as she’d been.
He was happy he’d done what he’d set his mind on all those years ago. But his joy would soon turn into pure, seething anger.
Jon’s graduation from the School of Infantry had almost coincided with his high school graduation, which would take place just a week later.
With everything he’d achieved so far, he only wanted to celebrate his graduation from high school the best way he knew how.
He was among the best students in his year and had even been allotted a chance to speak at the event. But that would never happen.
Jon never expected the principal to bar him from entering the school. He had never had any bad blood with the faculty and actually enjoyed learning under them.
He’d visited the principal’s office a hundred times, helping the man fix the office computer or simply saying, “Hi.” But today would show him that the principal was different from what he thought he knew.
Graduation day came, and a beaming Jon wore his official military ceremonial dress. He’d settled for a fit that would respect the sanctity of the graduation ceremony while also showing that he was now in the force.
Drawing his cap on, he jumped into his mom’s car, accompanied by his girlfriend, Macy. Nothing could have prepared them for what they would endure at the school entrance.
The drive to the school was short. Jon’s mom was behind the wheel, with John and Macy taking the backseat.
His mom pulled her car into the school compound, promptly stepping out with a bright smile. Jon and Macy followed, knowing this day would be a special one. But their world was about to be turned upside down.
Jon hurried toward the school building with his mom and Macy walking beside him. The parking lot was filled with cars, with proud parents pouring out in large numbers.
They greeted Jon and his entourage, some congratulating him on joining the force while still being as young as he was. They would all be there to witness the tragedy that was about to ensue.
Going Up The Stairs
Jon was walking up the staircase to the school when the principal pointed at him before whispering something into the security guard’s ear.
Jon didn’t think much of it at first. After all, he had done nothing wrong and was among the best students that year. He had no clue that all hell was about to break loose.
He wasn’t near the door before the guard asked him to step aside. With furrowed brows, he followed instructions. He’d never been an unruly kid before and wasn’t planning to start any day soon.
But the events that would transpire that morning would drive him to an extent even he didn’t think possible.
“Is everything okay?” Jon’s mom came and asked. She’d been talking to a few parents as Jon and Macy walked up the stairs. “I think so,” Jon said.
“The guard just told us to step aside.” “The principal told him to do it,” an observant Macy reported. “I think something’s wrong.” Jon turned to the principal, and everything became clear.
Jumping In Action
The principal glared at him as if he’d committed a war crime. He’d balled his fists and looked like he was fighting back an all-consuming rage.
“Something’s going on here,” Jon whispered and excused himself. He needed to get to the root of this. The school may have had a security breach, and the principal required him to step in. He was a marine, after all.
I Can’t Let You In
Jon walked up to the principal, ready to lend a hand with whatever was bothering him. But the man scoffed the moment Jon offered his hand in greeting.
“Mr. Schorfield,” the principal declared with an air of authority. “So good to see you.” His eyes lingered on Jon’s body, from his neatly combed hair to his shoes, and he grimaced. “I’m afraid I can’t let you into the ceremony.”
The Dress Code
“What, why?” Jon asked. “Because of your attire,” the principal answered. “You were supposed to wear a normal dress shirt and pressed pants. Nothing this fancy.”
“But this is a military uniform,” Jon answered, bewildered. “It’s not in the intended dress code, Mr. Schorfield,” said the principal.
“We only allow people dressed as instructed.” Jon was about to speak when someone unexpectedly showed up.
The Other Graduates
The boy had been in his English class, a rowdy boy who continuously caused trouble. He was dressed in basketball shorts and flip-flops, with his gown bunched in one hand.
Jon expected the principal to stop him, but the man just let him pass. Jon didn’t point it out. A girl appeared out of nowhere, dressed in an inappropriately short dress. The principal let her walk by as well. What was happening?
Why Is He Doing It?
The principal stood by as several students who didn’t adhere to the dress code walked into the school building. Yet he didn’t let Jon through simply because he wore his marine uniform.
Jon couldn’t tell whether this was a targeted attack toward him or if the principal just disliked service people. His mom was already there to try and plead his case. But Jon, looking to de-escalate the matter before it was too late, did the unexpected.
Let’s Go Home
Jon took his mom’s hand and stepped away. He was burning with fury, still wondering why the principal had singled him out. “Let’s just go home,” he said to his mom and Macy, and together, the three walked back to their car.
But Jon knew this wasn’t over. His mom was already on her phone, making calls and writing messages. She posted the story on Facebook, informing everyone of what had happened, from why Jon had joined the military to why he couldn’t graduate. The principal would rue the day he chose to cross her son.
Disclaimer: To protect the privacy of those depicted, some names, locations, and identifying characteristics have been changed and are products of the author’s imagination. Any resemblances to actual events, places, or persons, living or dead, are entirely coincidental.