The Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC), founded in 1916, is one of the most vigorous and successful leadership programs in the country, according to Today’s Military. In exchange for military service after graduation, students receive a paid college education. Several students at South are considering enrolling in this program for financial and patriotic reasons.
Senior Dani Revello says she plans on entering the ROTC in college. Revello claims that this was a natural decision because she admires her family members involved in the army. According to Revello, she learned many army values through her family.
“There’s so many songs that [my family] sings and so many mottos such as ‘semper fi,’” Revello said. “It means ‘always faithful.’ I see [semper fi] a lot on bumper stickers and on flags, and I look at it, and I just feel something inside…my family lives by that motto as well.”
Freshman Adair McMahon believes the ROTC is a great option because in exchange for service, she can receive an education, medical experience and travel the world.
“One of the things that’s so attractive about the ROTC is that college is so expensive these days and having the opportunity to have that paid for as well as giving you your education in exchange for some service to your country […] is really amazing and a great opportunity,” McMahon said.
South alum Hyein Lee studies healthcare management at Southern Illinois University as a member of the ROTC. Lee claims that the ROTC is a great choice for those looking to pay their college tuition and pursue a career afterwards.
“Ever since I joined the military, I realized that I can do more,” Lee said. “I can go further than what I thought I can do. There’s no limit to my personal [goals].”
According to McMahon, the anticipated challenges of being in the ROTC would be working under pressure, competing and most likely being one of the few females in the program.
“I wouldn’t say I’m very intimidated by [being the only female],” McMahon said. “Don’t get me wrong. In a way, I am […] I think when you choose to go in that it’s just something that you have to take control of and not really complain. Even if it’s a little intimidating, it’s something that I would choose to do and I hope that the boys would be a little intimidated by me.”
Lee says that despite being a female in the ROTC, she does not face any discrimination. Instead, she believes that members of the ROTC are like family.
“In the military, we have this thing called the battle-buddy system,” Lee said. “It’s basically a partnership of friends that work together. We learn how to survive in the war and we train together.”
Similarly to Lee, Revello also recognizes that the ROTC can create close-knit relationships within the members through opportunities like travelling.
“I’ve heard from my cousins that you really find a family within [the ROTC] because you spend so much time with them,” Revello said. “You also get to go travel places that you never thought you would go to […]. For two weeks, the air force ROTC went to Poland and they got a lot provided for them.”
According to McMahon, she has a deep sense of patriotism. By entering the ROTC, McMahon believes her patriotism would strengthen.
“If I decide to go into [the ROTC], I think it would shape me differently with more sense of teamwork and a bigger sense of patriotism,” McMahon said. “I care for America deeply[…] and by being a part of [the ROTC] I would grow stronger roots by being able to serve this country and the people I love.”