I Became a Model Cadet
Dr. Laust’s Comments: This student's assignment was to write a personal narrative essay describing an event that dramatically affected her life. Her choice of narrating her rise in the ranks of JROTC is unique, interesting, and very appropriate for the assignment. She does a very nice job of using specific details to describe aspects of the experience as well as employing dialog to accent her account. The reader gets a clear sense of the impact this event had on her life.
I moved to Slidell in the summer of 1998. It was a start of my tenth grade year at Northshore High School. I remember going to enroll the week before school started. I followed my mom into the school library like a lost puppy. There were new kids all over who were just as scared as I was. The room was filled with administrators sitting at tables asking millions of school-related questions to parents who were fumbling through papers to find a retort. Two people caught my attention in the room. They were a girl and a boy sharply dressed in pickle-green uniforms. Their chests were decorated with numerous shiny metals that reflected their accomplishments. The girl's dark brown hair was neatly tied in a bun off of her shoulders, and the boy's was shaven. Their black shoes were so shiny you could see your own reflection in them if you looked. They walked over to me and introduced themselves as Commanding Officer Cadet Lieutenant Colonel Wendy Arlington and her right hand man Cadet First Lieutenant Dwight Lewis. They were friendly. They shook my hand when they greeted me and told me about the JROTC program at Northshore High School. I told them I was nervous about a new school and was looking to meet people. They promised me I would make many friendships, and since I wanted to be just like them, I enrolled.
At first I joined JROTC to make friends and "fit in." In the course of the program, the desire grew in me to be more. I wanted to be an outstanding cadet. I wanted to give people the impression that I got from Wendy and Dwight. I wanted to be a leader.
One day two weeks into the school year, I was sitting in JROTC class at a desk in the back of the room and had no work to be done. The unarmed drill team leader. Cadet Captain Jerry St.Pierre, came in, pulled up a chair next to me, and told me about his team. They went to competitions, won trophies, and were a highly motivated team. I felt like this was my...