Mississippi Army National Guard Sgt. Bradley Pickett held a signing day for recruits at Cleveland Central High School and Bayou Academy Thursday.
Pickett said, "I just wanted to recognize the juniors and seniors at Cleveland Central High School and Bayou Academy and Broad Street High School that has signed with the Mississippi National Guard.
"Not only are they getting their college education for free but they are also making a commitment to serve the state in the country."
Pickett said this was a life building moment for the students and he believed they needed to be recognized as much as possible for what they have given up to serve.
The students recognized at CCHS were junior Stanley Adams and seniors Dustin Weeks, Wesley Tatum, Kathleen Green, Aaron Earl, Johnie Hudson and Adam Cummins.
Pickett also recognized CCHS seniors Gage Gaskins, Demetrius McMillion and Jackson Macintosh, who were not at the signing.
The students recognized at Bayou Academy were juniors Cody Lack and Nicholas Brown.
Before the signing at Cleveland Central, the students received words of encouragement from Pickett, CCHS football coach Ricky Smithers and parents.
Smithers expressed how proud he was of the students.
Smithers believed Thursday's signing was more important than the athlete's signing that occurred on Wednesday.
"This is more important than any signing day and this is a great opportunity to be a great leader in our country.”
Smithers said he also has a 20-year-old son getting ready to enlist and who will be heading for basic training soon.
"This is the most important thing that you can do for yourselves and for people like me because this means the world to me. The sacrifices you are about to make are unselfish," said Smithers.
"I am very proud of you guys and my heart goes out to you."
Pickett gave the signees parent's words of encouragement and assured them they will be well taken care of.
He said there is a wide array of jobs the army has to offer.
Pickett said, "Your child has a higher percentage of slipping and falling in the bath tub and hitting their head on the toilet and dying than they do in the military.
Smithers said, "Parents I thank y'all too because I know it's a tough decision. You're looking at your kids and thinking 'My baby’s going off to be shot at' but I can tell you that very few of the guys will be shot at because they will be running the computers and running things from the inside."