Two 2009 Boonville High School graduates will pursue a career with the United States Navy after graduating from the United States Naval Academy on May 24.
Will Parker and Jessica Klusmeyer came back to Boonville after graduation on Saturday to meet with family and friends at Laura Speed Elliot Middle School and discussed their future plans in the Navy. Klusmeyer will pursue a career in aviation while Parker will enter into training to become a Navy Seal.
Parker and Klusmeyer shared stories about graduation while thanking the community for the support they have received throughout their four years at the academy.
"Graduation was a week long called Commissioning Week. We heard President Obama speak along with the commandant of the Marine Corp," Parker said.
"It rained the entire day throughout the ceremony but it was just amazing. I wish I could have bottled that emotion and feeling because it was great, the happiest I have ever felt," Klusmeyer said.
While Parker and Klusmeyer had visited Boonville many times before graduation, it was very special for them to celebrate the achievement with people who had helped them their entire lives.
Local Navy veteran and close friend Tom Maxwell who was very instrumental in helping Parker and Klusmeyer enter into the academy, said many friends and community members showed up to see the two before they enter a new chapter in their lives.
"Being from a small town has its advantage because you get that support you cannot get in a city. I wanted to celebrate this with them," Klusmeyer said.
"It is a little different to come home. Sometimes it feels you are living two different lives, one being the military and one being here. It is really nice to come back and be with family because they are the ones that help you get through everything," Parker said.
Maxwell presented two books to Parker and Klusmeyer. One book centered around Navy aviation for Klusmeyer and one centered around Navy Seals for Parker.
Klusmeyer is in Boonville for two weeks before reporting to Pensacola Florida flight school. Parker will leave for California for Navy Seal Training.
"I will be learning aviation and then I will go to Texas and learn how to fly the plane. Depending on how well I do at flight school and the needs of the Navy I will get to pick my platform of what kind of plane I want to fly. From there I can be off any where," Klusmeyer said.
She said flight school alone will take two years.
Maxwell put a little prayer into the books he presented Parker and Klusmeyer.
"My prayer said I hope they and their families enjoy serving our country as much as we have," Maxwell said. "It is just remarkable we have two individuals with the insights and smarts who want to serve our country. I wish them smooth sailing and following seas".