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: “I wanted to leave my island because I wanted more opportunities. I have a group of friends I grew up with. One is in the Marines and one is in the Air Force. They definitely influenced me. I was the only female in the group, but I thought that was no reason not to do it too.”

First Impression of ORMA: “Some cadets were involved in my first tour around campus. My big impression was that they said they would be brutally honest with me during the tour. That was very intimidating. And they made good on their promise. When I asked them personal questions alone, away from the adults, they said they were being serious and sincere about everything they said. That made me want to come here.”

Challenging ORMA Experience: “To speak up. I would let anyone walk all over me at my old school. Here,(AT ORMA) they teach you to speak up for yourself, to stand up for yourself, to be confident. I was in the cafeteria, and I had to request permission to sit down. My food was getting cold, and no one would listen to me. Finally, I sounded off really loudly: ‘Sergeant, this recruit requests permission to sit down Sergeant!’ They heard me, and I ate my meal.”

Your Transformational ORMA Moment: “I went through very intense training to get my rank. I’m not very athletic, but I had to complete a 21.2 mile road march. I really wanted to give up, but I wanted to lead people. I didn’t give up and I got a sergeant’s ranking. At that moment, I knew I was in the right place.”

Most Impactful ORMA Mentor: Nathan Freeman, a student, our Battalion Commander. He pushed me to get my rank, even though when I first got to Oak Ridge, I didn’t have the military persona. ‘Your bun’s messed up; your shoes aren’t tied correctly,’ he used to tell me. It was really annoying. It made me want to be better than him. I’m now grateful he annoyed me. Now, I have two leadership positions. I am in charge of recruits and other officers.”

ORMA Impact: “The school has taught me leadership. I have learned so many ways to communicate with different people. There was a time when I was nervous around the other girls at Oak Ridge. I always thought of the movie ‘Mean Girls.’ It wasn’t easy, but now I have the courage to stand up for myself. I have earned respect from people who do not give it easily.”

Advice for New ORMA Students: “If you listen the first time, if you do it right the first time, you don’t have to repeat it. Just respect the process. I won’t tell you to do anything that I wouldn’t do myself.”

Post-ORMA Plans: “I’m considering two options. I either want to become an actress or work for the United Nations. But first, I want to attend either UNC-Charlotte or High Point University and study drama. I’m actually studying drama right now.”

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