Republic’s AFJROTC program has several outstanding cadets, but one of them has that title officially this year. Republic Cadet Master Sergeant Gavynn Hesterly was awarded the “2017 Outstanding Cadet” at the Cadet Leadership Course at Camp Crowder in Neosho. She earned the recognition after participating in a difficult four-day course with 30 other cadets. The course includes includes adventure training, team challenges, physical fitness training, and discipline drills.
“Being awarded Outstanding Cadet was very exciting,” Hesterly says. “I didn’t think i would be awarded it at all, to begin with. Leading up to the award, I encouraged my fellow cadets, and tried to do my best in each of the challenges. I couldn’t have won this award without the help of everyone who [went] to CLC with me.”
Hesterly says she does enjoy competition at times, but the competitive nature of the Leadership Course wasn’t what drove her.
“What every cadet gets out of the competitive aspect of ROTC is a fun kind of feud between friends that help and nourish a long lasting relationship,” she says. “With every challenge and competition comes a new leader, in one way, shape, or form.”
Lt. Col. Patrick Sanders says the Cadet Leadership Course’s goal is to “instill the principles of teamwork, leadership and effective communication, while enhancing in cadets a sense of self-confidence, self-respect, and self-discipline.”
Those principles carry over, for Hesterly and other cadets, to every aspect of their participation.
“The most important things I feel like I get out of ROTC are the discipline and leadership,” Hesterly says.