In the midst of another successful academic year, current Oak Ridge Military cadets are being transformed into tomorrow’s leaders around the world at Fortune 500 companies, top colleges and universities, the armed services, and many other prestigious organizations thanks to their unique, life-changing journey at ORMA. Here’s a snapshot of one outstanding cadet from the class of 2018:

Reason You Came to ORMA: “In the seventh grade, I got my first girlfriend. She was everything. I became a class clown, trying to impress her. Everyone agreed that I needed discipline and structure. So that’s how I got here.”

First Impression of ORMA: “As soon as they said it was time for a haircut, I wasn’t happy. I knew I would become more of a man and that things like the haircut were done to teach discipline. But it was very intimidating at first.”

Challenging ORMA Experience: “I had a hiccup my second year here. I was asked to leave for a short period of time. When I returned, I had to complete a lot of tedious tasks. When I finally finished them, Sgt. Major Lewis looked at me and said, ‘Jack, I’m extremely proud of you.’ That’s when I felt like I truly belonged.”

Your Transformational ORMA Moment: “I completed a 60-mile marathon in three days. It was extremely difficult, but now I feel like I can do anything. This place gives you the ability and belief to do anything you want.”

Most Impactful ORMA Mentor: “Sgt. Major Lewis. We used to disagree about everything. We were not close at all. He now refers to me as his project. He is a very wise man. He calms me down. He’s extremely positive.”

ORMA Impact: “Actions have consequences. If you do what’s right, good things will come your way. A structured life is an ordered life. Having your bed made leads to other structure, other good things in life. I’m now directly in charge of 31 kids’ daily actions at every moment, which is teaching me about responsibility. It’s very stressful, but it’s also very rewarding to have others look up to you. I have their backs, they have mine. The relationships you form are invaluable.”

Advice for New ORMA Students: “Look for the positives. There are some things you might not want to accept, but don’t be intimidated. Everybody wants you to be the best you can be. I thought it would be a scary place, surrounded by a bunch of big men bossing me around. My dad also went here, and he told me there would be some yelling. But he told me to go and be myself. I took my father’s advice, and I am excelling.”

Post-ORMA Plans: “I like the military structure. Military bonding is what I need. So I’m looking at the Citadel, VMI, or a U.S. Military Academy. I would like to someday become a Green Beret.”

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