JROTC promotes 18 cadets at promotion ceremony


Anna Barrett

Sophomore Niamki Buchanan is promoted to Staff Sargent by his mother at the promotion ceremony.

Anna Barrett, Staff Writer

Citizenship, leadership, character and community service are the core beliefs of high school Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (JROTC) programs. At the promotion ceremony held on Oct. 25, 18 cadets were promoted from various positions throughout the program.

“JROTC is a leadership course with a military structure,” OHS Senior Marine Instructor Major Brent Hampton said. “Our main goal is to make cadets better than when they entered the program.”

Freshman Elinor Purdon, who was just named “cadet of the quarter” and promoted from a Cadet Private First Class to a Lance Corporal at the recent OHS JROTC promotion ceremony, is one of the thousands of teens who participates in the military-themed character development programs at high schools across the nation.

“I was a Private First Class, which is one step up from a Private, and pretty much you’re just a Private who the people with the high ranks ask to do more things,” Purdon said. “I’m a Corporal now, which means I’m a NCO (noncommissioned officer), and people expect me to be able to lead and take on more responsibilities.”

Of those 18 students promoted, one student was promoted to Second Lieutenant, three to Staff Sargent, one to Sergeant, five to Lance Corporal, and eight to Private First Class.

“For the promotions, it’s usually a pretty joyous time,” sophomore Staff Sergeant Carter Hilmer said. “Families come out to support their child, and if you are not getting promoted, you come out anyway because we have what you call a mass formation when we do promotions, that way everyone can see.”

Major Hampton believes that the cadets have earned these promotions from their past performances.

“They have either stepped up and taken charge of an event, taken charge of other cadets that are more junior in the program, they have gone out and done color guard details over at Ole Miss or here at the high school,” Hampton said. “They have been a member of the unit here and have provided services that are bettering the unit and not just themselves.”

According to Hillmer, being promoted comes with more responsibilities and more people who depend on your work and efforts.

“The promotions are a very honorable thing, and it means a lot to be promoted,” Purdon said. “The higher your rank, the most power you have and the more you are expected to know. It isn’t easy to lead people, but it’s exciting to be trusted with something so much bigger than yourself.”