Century grad takes passion to National Guard
Tori Gosse-Gram has crawled along the ground as live rounds were fired over her head during a drill. She knows how to use an M-16 rifle.
Safe to say the Century senior graduating Saturday has had some experiences most 18-year-olds haven't.
And she wants that to continue.
The 18-year-old enlisted with the Minnesota National Guard about a year ago and completed basic training last summer. This summer, she'll continue that training, with hopes to eventually complete air borne school and become a paratrooper.
"I'm an adrenaline junkie, so I like that thrill," she said.
As a kid, Gosse-Gram remembers being fascinated by war movies, and wishing she could be in the Army, but at the time she thought it was only something guys could do. She quickly discovered otherwise.
A recruiter made numerous visits to Gosse-Gram's house when her sister was considering joining the National Guard, she listened in on the visits and her interest was piqued.
"I started thinking about it more seriously about it," she said.
She enlisted with an eight-year contract and completed her basic training last summer in Fort Sill, OK. At the age of 17, she was one of the few people at the camp who was that young.
She said that experience before her senior year taught her a lot of things, including discipline. Where she used to do the minimum amount of school work required, she said after her basic training she started going above and beyond, "because I got trained to do the best I can," she said.
She said she also learned how to work as a team, and how important developing friendships are. She used to rely heavily on herself to get tasks done, but now she's learned the value of being able to rely on others.
"Everything is easier when you have others to go through it with," she said.
This summer, she'll head to Fort Jackson, S.C., for advanced individual training with the National Guard. This fall, she plans to enroll at the University of Montana and will major in financial management.
She made the decisions because it's something she always has been interested in, and said she knew she had to foot the bill for school, so this provides a way to cover that cost and have benefits.
"I can start college," she said. "If they need me, I'll get deployed, but then I'll be able to jump right back into school."
But Gosse-Gram also drew inspiration from both of her grandfathers who were in the service — one in the Navy, and another in the Air Force. Her grandfather in the Air Force was a paratrooper and she grew up around him always working on model planes. He would always tell her stories about his time in the Air Force and the enthusiasm she had.
As Gosse-Gram prepares to graduate from Century Saturday, she said she's learned a few lessons during her high school years. she was active on the hockey and lacrosse teams for Century and said those experiences helped her prepare for the National Guard because of the physicality of the sports.
"Both have helped because you're not always winning, you're not always gonna have that, she said. "And it's important to get back up when you get knocked down."
Century High School class of 2016
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