Kent State Army ROTC cadets celebrated the closing of the 2017-18 school year with an awards breakfast Wednesday morning in the Kent Student Center.
The ceremony recognized the achievements of cadets and acknowledged all graduating senior cadets.
The Ballroom balcony filled with chatter and laughter as cadets conversed and reminisced on the year they endured together.
“A highlight, I would say, was getting to meet every new person,” said Clayton Croom, a political science major and sophomore cadet.
Croom enjoyed connecting with his ROTC peers outside of the program and learning different ideas and perspectives on how to excel in his military career, he said.
“The biggest struggle for me is having to go out in the field because I hate getting dirty. Sometimes you have to do something you don’t like just to succeed,” Croom said. “I came in wanting to learn more about leadership, and that is my whole intention with this class, to learn more about leadership and myself, what kind of leader I am … because one day I could actually have to use that and that could definitely be a life or death sentence for me and my teammates or my troop.”
Croom is just one of many cadets who experienced struggles he had to overcome.
Emily Daquelente, a senior cadet and psychology major, discussed some tough times as well.
“It was such a long year,” Daquelente said. “It was really hard, but I would say ultimately learning how to deal with the stress of it all, time management and all of that, was one of my biggest challenges.”
Balancing the workload of being in school and the requirements that came with ROTC was hard, but through working with her peers and cadre, Daquelente said she believes she has learned much about the professionalism of the military and has matured throughout her time spent here.
“I think this past FTX (was a highlight). We got so much praise for doing a good job,” Daquelente said. “Things typically don’t turn out well no matter how much planning you put in, and it actually went really smooth, and I think our cadets got so much training with them going to advanced camp. I definitely think our cadets are prepared, which makes me really happy.”
Daquelente plans to return to Kent State for her master’s program. She doesn’t have any more military training until January of 2019, so between now and then she plans on dedicating her time toward volunteering and saving money.
“Upcoming senior cadets … I would tell them to not let the program overtake your life,” Daquelente said. “We’re here to do both. We’re here to do Army and school, so figure out the time management of it all and don’t leave your other hobbies behind because you learn things from both. Also stay motivated, and learn from your peers.”
The breakfast presented various cadets with awards for their outstanding achievements, dedication to the program and accomplishments in school.
There will be a commissioning ceremony for graduating senior cadets on Friday, May 11, to wrap up the year.
Mariah Hicks is the military and veterans reporter. Contact her at [email protected]