ROTC radiates success at OHS


Kaitlyn Smitten

Nicholas Clark, junior, presenting the American flag at the winter assembly.

True Van Dyke, Features Editor

Setting the standard high and leaving the school off better than they found it, OHS’ ROTC has made a highly acclaimed name for themselves. Through community service projects, leadership training, and military influence, the program is only continuing to grow, leaving a trail of accomplishments behind them. 

ROTC is based on forming cadets into equally well-rounded people outside of school as much as inside of it. 

“It’s about building good citizens; a lot of people think ROTC is about making soldiers, sailors, airmen, [and] marines, but it’s not, it’s about making good citizens. Only about 20% of our kids go on to the military,” said Colonel Don Clocksin, ROTC instructor. 

The military is without a doubt the foundation of the program, but the influence does not just stop there. 

“I’ve been a more mature person since I’ve been here, it teaches you how to appreciate life,” said Peyton Ciesielski, senior. 

Maturity and responsibility are just some of the many aspects the program sends its students off with in preparation for success. 

“It’s a really good program; colleges will look at it and know that you’re in JROTC, and I know a few people that have been able to get into the Air Force Academy because of it,” said Sam Mosley, sophomore. 

Using the ROTC experience outside of high school is not the only benefit of the class, but also the many events and opportunities given within it. 

“We’re trying to work on developing leaders and good followers, and one of the things we added this year that we’ve never done before, is we took the seniors and juniors on a retreat to Flagstaff and we spent the weekend up there giving them a chance to interact, and give them a chance to learn more about the program,” Clocksin said. 

From completely student-led trips like this one, to collecting service hours, and to learning different marching formations, the program has a lot to be proud of. 

We are the only unit in all of Arizona, [and] one of three in the entire United States to get recognized for the number of community service hours that we’ve done. 8 years in a row now,” Clocksin said. 

Community service projects have fueled the success of ROTC, continuing to engrain the importance of the program into the students who pass through, creating visible influence within the area around O’Connor. 

“Community service hours [are] a big thing for me, I always get a lot of hours because I really like doing it,” Ciesielski said. 

The program consistently proves itself through the determination and quality work of its students, pushing towards their goals with confidence. 

“We’re knocking on 4000 [service hours] so far this year, so we haven’t quite made our goal of 5000 [hours], but we’re working towards it,” Clocksin said. 

Whether a future in the military is in store for many of the cadets here at OHS or not, there is no doubt that ROTC has set up a foundation of success, morality, and leadership for each and every student. 

“I didn’t want to do it, then I did it, and I fell in love with it, so now I’ve been here for four years,” Ciesielski said.