JROTC cadet serves as company captain, National Guard member

First enrolled to avoid PE allowed Sanchez to grow

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JROTC becomes this who would of thought

Michelle Castillo, Staff Writer

Having confidence in yourself, to push yourself past the limits that you expected never to pass, even being in danger but still having happiness. The adrenaline flows to be doing something that gets you pumped up. The mind gets all worked up. It means is right for you. 

That’s what now-senior Mireya Sanchez found when she enrolled in JROTC as a freshman.

Joining JROTC has made an impact on many, as ROTC pays for college and makes students a standout when applying for  jobs.

When Sanchez signed up for JROTC as an eighth grader, she thought would be just another class.

Was she ever wrong.

Now a senior, Sanchez has shot up the ranks from being a lowly private her freshman year to becoming one of the captains, taking charge as Company Commander for A Company. She  trains 35 junior-level cadets. She found it a challenge, taking another step into her career. She hadn’t really expected to be one of the captains. 

 “I was pretty happy to be captain because I wanted to be since freshman year,” Sanchez said, 

She was chosen for the lead because she went to Army basic training last year. And that’s the real basic training.

“It was 10 weeks. I was in Fort Leonard Wood (Missouri),” she said. “It wasn’t part of the school, it was actually the real Army.” Being part of the real thing, participating in shooting, being aware on breathing and calming down to get the right target.

Wearing a combat uniform the same as everyone else, she had obstacles that required patience and performed duties with compassion, encouraging others as they went down a rappel tower.

Sanchez feels grateful for having freedom and realizes how glad her family is she joined the Army while still in high school.

That training is what allowed her as a senior to become la jefa – the boss – at West.

As captain she had to be able to show leadership, be able to straighten things up. She had to help cadets with work, uniforms and marching. 

JROTC Colonel James McGrory has watched her grow through the four years.

“She possesses a breadth and depth of doctrinal knowledge with natural ability to express complicated and detailed information clearly and concisely,” said McGrory “I am very impressed with her academic success, her being one of the key leaders in Wrangler JROTC.”

There were plenty of difficulties created by covid. It was hard to keep social distance and do activities together as a team. Normally they would march outside in rows, in position, looking straight, looking like a military parade. 

“We were supposed to have different leadership field trips but now we couldn’t,” said Sanchez. 

With all the restrictions, things were cancelled. It was hard at first but she got used to it.

“I was disappointed for not having an adventurous finale to my senior year and creating more excited memories,” she said.

This year is like no other as they do their work online. 

Sanchez didn’t expect to like JROTC. She really added it to avoid PE. Now she realizes it is the choice she made that will affect the rest of her life. 

Now, four years later, it was the best choice. She has gotten out of her shell and is taking risks. She will continue the progress in college. Going to AIT, as she already is in the National Guard with the split program. 

“Along the way, you meet really cool people, I really learn about myself and what I accomplished,” Sanchez said feeling proud of herself, “doing things others would never do, like throwing a grenade or going into a gas chamber.”