From her opening sentence, Reagan Walker’s winning entry in the 4th Brigade JROTC Essay Contest sets the scene for an experience that she says changed her life.
“The room is dead silent. I am in middle school, sitting on the bleachers in the gym and watching a demonstration by the Hough JROTC cadets. I can’t take my eyes off them. Rifles are thrown and caught with meticulous precision, orders are executed with the utmost discipline, and it is obvious in that moment: I wanted that to be me.”
Reagan signed up for JROTC when she entered Hough High. “My confidence has flourished,” the sophomore wrote in her essay, “Why I Joined JROTC – JROTC Builds Character and Leadership.”
“When I make choices and give out orders, I no longer feel unsure of myself. ... All the events I’ve had the opportunity to participate in have helped me to expand my horizons beyond my wildest dreams.”
The first CMS student to win the contest, she’s gotten support from classmates such as Cadets Zachary Adreon, left, and Jessie Simpson, right. The competition involved more than 300 JROTC programs from eight states. Reagan advanced to the finals to compete against entrants from more than 1,600 JROTC programs worldwide.