The student news site of Los Altos High School in Los Altos, California

The Talon

The student news site of Los Altos High School in Los Altos, California

The Talon

The student news site of Los Altos High School in Los Altos, California

The Talon

Military Life Hits Home for Sophomore Gino Vega

Imagine moving every three years, attending two different elementary schools, three different high schools. Imagine never settling down, never really feeling at home because you’ve grown up in a multitude of different houses, never staying in the same place long enough to have close friends. For sophomore Gino Vega, this is a reality.


Gino is a new student at Los Altos High School, recently transferred from Puerto Rico, where his family lived for three years while his father was stationed there with the Coast Guard.


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“[My dad] joined because that was one of the only available jobs to him at the time [when he lived] in El Paso Texas,” Gino said. “My uncle is also in the military… so I have a whole family in the military.”


Gino’s family’s involvement in the military has made it hard for him to maintain close relationships with friends.


“It’s lonely. Very lonely. [I] don’t have any friends, connections. [I] don’t always go to the same school– [I’m] always starting over,” Gino said.


Because Gino has had to relocate every two or three years, he has formed his own strategy to survive the moves with minimal disappointment.


“You can’t get attached to anything,” Gino said. “I never had a group of friends. They offer [to go out] and I say no I can’t because it just makes everything [easier] when you move…”


Gino’s childhood struggle is his primary deterrent from joining the military.


“I don’t want to join. I don’t want to join because… if I have kids I don’t want to make them go through not having any friends, or going to multiple high schools,” Gino said.


His advice to high school students who are interested in joining the military is simple and straightforward.


“[You] don’t want to have a family when you know you’re going to join the military,” Gino said. “[You] don’t want to have kids… But if you’re looking for a job, like my dad [was]… so he could support my mom, joining is the best thing you can do.”


Yet despite his distant relations with friends and his disappointment in his childhood, Gino is able to see some positive aspects of the military.


“Don’t get me wrong… there are some positive things… I got to see… the United States in a cultural way… I’ve been to New Jersey, I’ve been to Puerto Rico, Ohio. I’ve been to Michigan… I’ve [been] a little bit of everywhere,” Gino said.


Furthermore, Gino’s lack of consistent friends has forced him to grow closer to his family, especially his younger brother.


“[My brother and I] never had fights because we were the only [people] we had,” Gino said. “‘That’s the only person you have, you better get along with him,’ my mom said.”


Besides his mom and younger brother, Gino does get to spend time with his dad. They enjoy practicing martial arts together in the evening.


“At 6:10 pm [every night] I leave for sports with my dad,” Gino said. “That’s how we get to move on–just to forget about everything else. We train for martial arts [together]… I’m going on to my 7th year, [my dad] is going on to his 8th year.”


Although Gino wishes he would be able to visit his family more, he says keeping himself busy with school is the best way to take his mind off of that disappointment. Yet, with school, again the struggle of making friends.

“[You] let people approach you physically, but mentally they’re far away…,” Gino said. “You socialize… but [calling] someone your friend, is like saying they’re part of your family now. That’s hard… because you won’t be here three or four years later… You just talk to them sometimes and then move on.”

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