From Former Cadets
“I was a part of the JROTC program for 4 years during some very challenging times of my life. The program provided not only military-based academics but provided me with a sense of community. The relationships I built while in the program have not only made me a better leader but a better person.”
“The instruction, support, and acceptance by the instructors and my fellow peers while I was in the program helped me get through some of the toughest challenges I faced personally, and I have nothing but the highest respect for the integrity of the Program and all that are involved with it.”
- Raynette Parks, C/O 2006
"With utmost certainty, I can attribute who I am today - both as a citizen, and officer – not to the Air Force Academy, nor those evil flight training instructors. The officer I am today was forged by the lessons and experiences first provided by OHNJROTC."
- Capt. Thomas Chandler, USAF, C/O 2006
"Though I choose not to pursue a career in the service I was able to become a contributing member of society, and I believe firmly it was from my years in the ROTC program. I was able to take my leadership skills, attention to detail, timeliness, discipline, and team-building skills to the workforce. I have been employed by the same company since I left high school thru hard work, discipline, and building my team members up I am now a manager at a large home improvement retail company. ROTC is a great program for all students even if the military isn't in their career path. There are many great life skills that are taught with this program."
- Brittney Wanless, C/O 2006
"I've got to admit that my career path has taken me fairly far from the more obvious routes that ROTC could impact my life. I'm just finishing up my Ph.D., and I'm starting to work as a researcher at the University of Texas, so unfortunately I was never able to use the bump up to E-3 instead of E-1. However, the more intangible benefits from four years in the student-led program I use constantly; learning about me, my leadership style, and how I generally interact with my peers to solve problems is a life skill with applications everywhere, even in academia."
- Zak Webb, C/O 2006
"NJROTC challenged me to take on multiple leadership roles. This experience has prepared me for the "real world" because I am confident in my abilities as a person and as a leader."
- Cammie (Garey) Rome, C/O 2006
"The long-lasting effects that the NJROTC program has had in my life are too numerous to count --from the leadership essentials to lessons in planning and organizing, to a deep-rooted sense of patriotism -- the memories and tools I acquired in those four years have served me well throughout college and into my career."
- Emily (Cane) Richter, C/O 2006
"Looking back on my time in NJROTC from 2003 to 2007, I can honestly say it was the best class that I took in high school for a number of reasons; but most importantly it did more to prepare me for the challenges of life than any other class. The class instructed me on how to work well with others for the benefit of the team. It taught me the need to take responsibility for my actions and how to grow as an individual. I learned the importance of commitment, and the benefit of being surrounded by capable people. And lastly, the program instilled in me the values of not only being a good leader but more importantly how to be a great follower."
- Justin Jansen, Class of 2007
"NJROTC helped me develop my leadership skills. The progression from my freshman to senior year of high school proved that. Today I am finishing my senior year of college and will hopefully attend Officer Candidate School in the near future. I can honestly say that I wouldn't be the leader or person I am today if it weren't for the program and the help and guidance of Commander Black and Chief Thiel."
- Therese Desquitado, 2013
"Entering the program as a freshman, I didn't really know what to expect. But without the guidance of Chief Thiel and Commander Black, I wouldn't be where I am today. My involvement with the drill team, color guard, and the physical strength team helped me build confidence and character. I will be forever grateful for Wildcat Battalion and for Chief Thiel and Commander Black for everything they've done for me; pushing me to my limits and enforcing nothing short of success."
- Tricia Desquitado, 2014
"NJROTC was not just a program that taught me about the U.S. Military Service. It was so much more than that. It brought out aspects of myself that I did not know existed; confidence, attention to detail, respect for my peers, and determination to be better today than I was yesterday. It was a cornerstone in my life that helped shape the person that I am today. It was one of the best times of my life"
- Karissa Lawson, c/o 2007
"The OHHS NJROTC has helped me become a better leader at church, in Boy Scouts, and in school."
- Edwards, c/o 2018
"We have pushed ourselves and others farther than we thought we could go. JROTC is the best thing I have done and still doing."
- Ramsauer, c/o 2018
"The NJROTC program has helped me by learning the basics and true meaning to serve my country. The leaders and peers are among the best and helpful people I have met and thank them for helping me and many others find a direction."
- Martinez, c/o 2018
"The OHHS NJROTC program has given me the opportunities to excel as a leader and person. I am extremely proud to say I am a part of the battalion. Being a part of the unit makes any cadet feel like they are a part of something bigger than themselves. I personally feel accomplished just because of the many awards the unit has received and the chances the battalion has given me, personally, to succeed."
-Gehrmann, Battalion Commander, 2017
"NJROTC has taught me responsibility and self-discipline, it has provided me with the experience to grow as a leader and has given me the opportunity and confidence to do things I never imagined I would do. There is much more I would like to write about how amazing the program is but I tried to summarize."
- Callie Nuttall, 2018
"NJROTC is not just a class to get an easy 'A'. It’s a class that one should live through. This class is supposed to teach applicable skills for the real world, and all the skills they teach are not only just for the military but are to be applied to our daily lives to make us better people and citizens of the United States of America."
- Saurez, 2018
"The NJROTC program has helped me to be not only a better person, but a better student, son, citizen, and overall helped me to become a better learner whether it is how to march or learning different defensive schemes in football. I came from a program in San Diego and the difference between the two is that the cadets actually want to be here. Everyone participates on a team and everyone knows what they are doing because the commitment to the teams by the cadets is extraordinary. The program I came from only had a handful of cadets willing to give that kind of commitment and pride into the program so as a result, the OHHS Wildcat Battalion wins/ denominates the competitions they go to and the program I came from hadn’t won a competition in years."
– Gomez, 2018
"The OHHS NJROTC program has changed my life starting in my freshman year. I first joined because my older brothers were in it. When high school began I didn’t have that many friends, to begin with, but I was able to make my first friends in the program which I am still friends with. I feel like the program has taught me great leadership skills and discipline. When I went to Army basic this past summer for the National Guard, I felt a lot more prepared compared to others because I could march and had the physical ability to pass the PT test with great scores thanks to the program."
- Hartley, A, 2017
"The positive effects of me joining NJROTC include my commitment to the program through community service and the rifle team. Both my parents were shocked at how well I managed to get to rifle practice on time. I would have had a hard time finding community service opportunities without our program. All in all, I am certain that I would have a hugely different high school career had I not joined NJROTC. I would have not become a better leader, nor would I have had so much fun."
- Holt, K, 2017
"JROTC has changed me in many ways. I have learned leadership skills to make me a better leader and to be a good follower since joining the program. I understood what leadership was with the people I have to lead and to follow. It has taught me so much about teamwork. We have to do many tasks working together with our class and squads. The program brings out the best in us because of the high level of maturity expected of us from the instructors and our seniors. But it has also shown me that it's okay to joke around and not be serious all the time. I've had a lot of fun in the 2-3 years I have been a part of the program."
- Munger, Jhaylan, 2018
"I first got introduced to the NJROTC program after moving to Oak Harbor, Washington during my sophomore year. Being in a military family, you might have to move to different states frequently or from time to time. However, it does not get any easier for a teenager to move to a new environment, especially after living in the same place for good ten or eleven years of his or her life. When I came to Oak Harbor from Cerritos, California, I was at the lowest point in my life. I despised everything, was always depressed but would never show it, and wanted to go back “home.” Yet, I could not have imagined that joining a single program would change my viewpoint on my situation and make me grow as an individual person. Since the start of my NJROTC career, I have been continuously growing as a young adult, gaining new perspectives, and have been gaining life lessons to take with me. Most importantly, the NJROTC program helped me settle to my new environment during my sophomore year. It made my transition to Oak Harbor High School and 'Oak Harbor' much easier for me. I made my first friend through the NJROTC program and have been making more friends because of that. The program gave me friends to meet and make my transition easier, which I am thankful for. Looking back, I know for a fact that if I had not made the decision to take the NJROTC classes, I would not be the man I am today and would not have made the accomplishments I have accomplished. Today, I am a drill team commander for the Armed Drill Team, a company commander for the battalion, a president for a club, and have made so many new friendships and participated in many community service opportunities. Additionally, I have become a person I could be proud of, who is optimistic, spreading love, and always finding a way to participate and make a positive impact on other people’s lives in the process. I am so thankful to have been part of a wonderful program for the past 2 years, now going into my third year, and am very thankful to Commander Black for putting me with my fellow classmates as well as Chief Thiel for pushing me to be my best. Without the program and without Commander Black and Chief Thiel, I would not be the person I am today and would not accomplish the many achievements I have achieved. The NJROTC program, especially at Oak Harbor High School, is not only a program that helps you academically, but it helps students to build up their character, develop personality, and helps students to achieve their goals. The NJROTC program, along with Commander Black and Chief Thiel, has given so much to the students in the program. It will be my third and last year of my NJROTC career, but I want to make sure I give back as much as I can to the program, Commander Black, and Chief Thiel. Time to make it count."
– Francisco, 2017
“ROTC is like family, and like family, ROTC helps one have confidence in oneself, which is something sorely needed for high schoolers. Most importantly though, ROTC is key in making future leaders for the coming generations.”
- Tristin Macaluso, 2018
"The reason I joined NJROTC is that in my previous school, they had an AJROTC program. I was part of that program as a freshman and I became more self-disciplined and have no lower than a “B” average. I moved to a school that didn’t have a program and as a result of this, I saw a lack of interest in school, and my grades dropped, and were barely passing most of my classes. I am so happy that OHHS has a program and that I can be a part of it again. JROTC has also given me a chance to connect with others."
- Gilbert, S, 2017