"What are you doing after graduation?"
With the school year coming to a close, high school seniors across the country are being asked this question.
At Hastings High School, a record number of graduates will be responding with a commitment to serve their country.
Part of this group of rising service members in the class of 2018 are Cody Langhus and Cory Rohloff. Both seniors have familial ties to the Armed Forces and said they were motivated to join by a combined sense of patriotism and duty.
Langhus begins training with the United States Army this summer in hopes of becoming a pilot.
He will be starting on the ground as part of the team repairing helicopters.
"I think it would be a good idea to know how to fix them before you fly them," Langhus said.
Rohloff has chosen to join the Marines to follow in his grandfather's footsteps as well as for the challenge. "I have to really push myself," Rohloff said.
The students are excited for the adventure, anxious to meet new people and experience new cultures.
"The hardest part is going to be leaving our family for sure," Rohloff said.
Yet the future service members of Hastings High School have already found a new family of sorts in their fellow recruits.
Langhus said that there is a sense of brotherhood between them, and a few fellow classmates will be leaving for training with Rohloff.
There are a total of six Marine recruits in the HHS Class of 2018, and they are already preparing themselves for duty.
Every Monday and Wednesday, a Marine sergeant holds physical training at the high school for the students.
"You go in and you just get hammered for two hours," Rohloff said.
The school offers similar programs for other branches and Langhus said "as soon as you show up you're family."
In regards to the large number of recruits in their class, the students said they believe that their classmates are taking advantage of the different options available to them.
Langhus and Rohloff recognize the freedom to choose their future, whether that be college, trade school or the military, and are motivated to use their skills and talents to protect it.
"Going into the military isn't for everybody," said Langhus, "but anybody that wants to do something should put their full effort into it. Try to help as many people in the ways they can."