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Plymouth High School seniors fight for armed forces graduation cords

The school will let them wear the tassels
Posted at 6:54 PM, May 31, 2017

The American Legion Auxiliary Post #243 sent red, white and blue cords for enlisting seniors to wear around their cap and gown to honor their effort, but Plymouth High School initially said they couldn't since the group isn't a school sponsored program.

But a group of seniors at Plymouth High School who will be joining the armed forces won their first battle.

"I felt super honored we were actually getting something," said Leah Schuldt, who is enlisted in the Air Force. "Just their gift of recognition that we're taking time out of our life to help out what we love, which is our country. To hear we couldn't wear them across the stage was really disheartening."

"When I read the cord, it almost made me cry," said Brylan Weisensel, who is enlisted in the Navy. "As someone who is enlisted, I strive to go forward and do great things like they have. I thought it was disrespectful because these guys put in so much effort and got these for us."

So Weisensel took to Facebook to share his displeasure with how the situation was being handled. He also spoke to the administration about allowing this so they could honor the local American Legion.

"I felt this was something that needed to be addressed," Weisensel said. "So instead of getting angry about it and saying screw it. Let's wear them anyway and make a scene at our graduation, let's try to get some attention behind this. Let's get our community behind this. Let's do it within the rules. Let's do it the right way."

And the school listened. Dr. Jennifer Rauscher reversed the decision and called each of the students individually Tuesday night to apologize.

"It was kind of a shock to me that she called so late," Schuldt said. "I was extremely thankful she personally called us. She felt very bad and upset about it. She contacted me today during one of my free periods to say she's sorry again."

"I think it's really awesome Dr. Rauscher called us," Weisensel said. "The old rule isn't right and there should be exceptions to that. From what I heard in the call, she was always on our side. There's a rule in place and it's their job to enforce it. That's what they're there to do. I respect that. I'm glad we were able to work around it and do this the right way."

While they'll be graduating Sunday, exactly one month before Independence Day, they will unofficially be leaving the "child" stage of their lives. However, the maturity they showed in how they handled a situation they were passionate about proves they're wise beyond their years.

"Super proud of my daughter and these kids for stepping up to the plate and representing what they believe in," said Kevin Schuldt. "I think they did a phenomenal job. These kids are sacrificing everything for us to have these freedoms."

Weisensel is shipping out July 13 while Schuldt will be gone in August. However, their legacy will live on at the school as future graduates enlisting in the military will be able to wear the red, white and blue cord as well.

"It's awesome the future graduates will have cords and the Legion can continue to give them," Weisensel said. "I think that's what most important. They're doing something for us and we're respecting that and carrying it out for them."