PCHS’ Knight wants to serve countryPublished 6:01am Saturday, September 15, 2012
Editor’s Note: Franklin’s Future is a regular feature spotlighting a high school senior in Franklin County and what they have planned for life after graduation.
Phil Campbell High School senior Justin Knight is someone who would best be described as an all-American kind of guy.
When it comes to the things that are important to him, faith, family, his country and his education all rank at the top of his list.
The 17-year-old high school student has been a Phil Campbell Bobcat his entire life and is currently the team captain for the PCHS football team.
In addition to his time on the football field, Knight has been a member of the baseball team, the Future Business Leaders of America and the Fellowship of Christian Athletes.
He’s also taken on leadership roles as class president his freshman, junior and senior years; vice-president of the student council this year; president of National Honor Society; Sargent at Arms of the Alabama North District of Junior Civitan; a Boys State representative for PCHS; and he was named Most Outstanding 11th Grade Boy last year.
This may seem like a lot of activities for one high school boy to be part of, but Knight said he believes it’s important to get involved during high school.
“I’ve enjoyed high school and all the things I’ve learned since I’ve been here,” Knight said. “I’ve enjoyed Phil Campbell especially because there really is a family atmosphere here – most of us have grown up together and we all just get along.
“When you’re part of a school like that, it’s good to get involved and take an active role in your high school experience and try to be a leader.”
Knight is also active in his community as a member of Antioch Baptist Church and a member of Franklin County Junior Leadership this past year.
“I like to help people and do things for someone other than myself,” he said. “I also like meeting new people and that’s something I was able to do through Junior Leadership, Boys State and Junior Civitan. With Junior Civitan, I met people from Canada and all 50 states at the national convention. And Boys State helped me be better informed about our country and the way our government is run.”
Knight said he’s had some great experiences during high school, and he doesn’t want to wish away his senior year, but he said he is more than ready to start the next chapter of his life, which is something he’s been looking forward to since he was a young boy.
“All I’ve ever wanted to do is be in the military and serve my country,” Knight said. “I think it’s an honor to be able to serve your country, and I’ve never seen any other future for myself other than military service.”
When he graduates from high school, Knight said he hoped to gain entrance into the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis or the United States Military Academy in West Point.
“Those schools aren’t like your typical college,” Knight said. “You get up early every morning and do physical training before breakfast and then you go to your classes. You take regular classes but you also take military classes as well.
“With these schools, you only go home a few times a year for holidays. You get a short break in the summer and the rest of the summertime is spent doing military training.”
Knight said once he is trained and ready, he hopes to become an explosion ordinance disposal (EOD) officer and serve overseas.
“Basically what I’d be doing is diffusing bombs, or IEDs, in Afghanistan.”
Knight said he was aware that being an EOD officer was a dangerous job, but he was still willing to do it.
“It just seems like it’s the most needed job right now, and somebody has to do it,” he said. “IEDs are the number one killer of soldiers, so having people to diffuse them will reduce the number of soldiers killed.”
Knight said if his military future goes as planned, he figured he’d need to settle down closer to a military base.
“I’ll probably live somewhere like San Diego,” he said. “It won’t be anywhere close to here.”
But he said he’d definitely be back to visit, especially to visit his parents, Rodney and Carla Knight, and his younger sister, Olivia.
“The thought of living somewhere far off makes me excited,” he said, “but Franklin County will always be home to me.”