EDINBURGH — For 18 years, cadets from the Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps classes across the state have met at Camp Atterbury near Edinburgh to participate in a summer week of developing leadership skills and adventure training.
Nine JROTC students/cadets from Warsaw Community High School attended the camp June 27 through July 2. Their instructor, Sergeant Major (Ret) Mark Whitford was impressed by all of the Cadets performance, effort and discipline.
Lieutenant Colonel (Ret) Brad Spice serves as the camp’s commandant and said the curriculum is designed to build well-rounded citizens. He said the best part of his job is watching cadets grow during the week.
Incoming WCHS junior Cadet Major Andrew Owens noted his time at this leadership camp is a time he will never forget. “Throughout the week my leadership abilities were tested as I learned how to take control at times and to act responsibly to those under me.” He added, “I felt being proud to stand in front of the company on graduation day not only as the company commander but as the top cadet of the company.”
According to Whitford, this camp enables cadets to do things few high school students will do and permits cadets to go farther than they have ever gone and, in doing so, become more mature and confident.
Whitford and Major (Ret) Friedrich Josellis lead Warsaw’s Army JROTC program. Between them, they have nearly 60 years’ experience. This upcoming school year they expect approximately 100 students to participate in JROTC.
Josellis said the goal of JROTC is not to recruit military members but to develop leadership and citizenship skills in the cadets.
Warsaw’s Army JROTC is starting its fourth year, so this is the first year this unit will have cadets who have been with the program from freshmen through senior year. Cadet Madison Wagoner is an incoming senior and she will also be Warsaw’s first cadet battalion commander who will have gone through the program for four years. She stated, “Each year, I look back on how I’ve grown as a leader and I see the difference one year has made.”
Despite the Warsaw program’s “newness,” the program proved its success again as nearly half of this year’s graduates received awards. Among the honors given to Warsaw cadets:
Cadet Madison Wagoner. As incoming battalion commander for Warsaw’s Army JROTC this school year, Wagoner was selected to serve as the camp’s most senior enlisted position as cadet sergeant major. Wagoner was selected by all of the instructors at this camp because of her knowledge and ability.
Cadet Andrew Owens received cadet of the company. This award is the result of input and feedback from cadets within his company and the instructors’ evaluation of his performance.
Cadet Jessica Gerkin received an award for being in the top 10 percent of her company. Again, this achievement is the result of peers recognition of her efforts and instructors’ evaluation. This was the second time she has received this award in the two years she has been to this camp.
Cadet Zachery Stavedahl was also in the top 10 percent of his company. Like Gerkin, he achieved this award by being recognized within his own company by fellow cadets and instructors.