End of ROTC’s Year with Leadership Transfer


ROTC Cadets at Grand Junction Meet

Annabelle Ensor, News Reporter

Montrose High School’s ROTC program had more opportunities to return to normal after the pandemic in the 2021-2022 school year. They are able to have an ROTC ball, an adventure race, a sea perch competition, and more.

The activities for this school year have included their state competition, a Grand Junction meet, community service events, veteran tailgate, cyber patriot competitions, and academic postals.

ROTC is a primarily student-run program with one adult instructor who works with the top four ranking cadets. This year, those seniors were Dory Schmidt, Makaylia Hernandez, Samuel Preston, and Joan Heredia. Each of these students was in a unique leadership position with different roles.

Dory Schmidt, former commanding officer, had roles including making most of the ROTC-related decisions and overseeing the unit. 

“I’ve been in ROTC all four years of high school; it helped me obtain leadership skills and confidence,” Schmidt said.

As a student who was involved in ROTC since her freshman year, Schmidt is very vocal about the benefits of joining the program.

“I enjoyed all of my time in ROTC, I made many friends, and had a lot of experiences in ROTC, like ROTC ball,” Schmidt said. “I enjoyed traveling with the drill team the most, It was a unique experience and the friendships I made while traveling were irreplaceable.” 

Makaylia Hernandez acted as the executive officer this year, with jobs including enforcing the rules and regulations and helping to run and oversee operations for the unit.

Samuel Preston was the operations officer and was in charge of responsibilities related to paperwork, organization, and managing discourse within the program.

ROTC is the hardest working program at the school,” Preston said. “It’s a fundamentally student-led program that promotes an incredible amount of camaraderie and teamwork.”

Joan Heredia was the educational service officer, whose responsibilities are more oriented around the academic side of the ROTC program, including checking grades and offering support for classes.

This year, ROTC competed in a State competition where they placed 10th overall, competing with 4 teams. Unarmed exhibition, armed exhibition, unarmed drill, and armed drill. 

On Friday, April 22, Montrose’s ROTC program held its annual ROTC ball, involving speeches, ceremonies, and dancing. Seniors Schmidt, Hernandez, Preston, Heredia, and Brooks Blackford gave farewell speeches at the event, which followed the week that they handed off their leadership roles to next year’s senior staff.

“Next year’s staff is full of ambitious cadets who will keep the unit on track,” Schmidt said. “I have complete faith in their abilities as they have already proven themselves in many ways.”

Jacob Kipp is next year’s commanding officer and Schmidt’s replacement.

“To be able to lead this unit is both an honor and a challenge,” Kipp said. “I know that I have a great staff and people behind me and have no doubts that we will be able to have an amazing year and push through any challenge that is thrown our way.”

ROTC has had a busy year, and expectations are high for next year’s staff.