“The reason we keep getting students has everything to do with our ability to turn a group of ordinary college kids into a family,” Kris Ribecky said. Ribecky is a former Freedom NJROTC cadet, who is currently a cadet from USF’s ROTC program.
ROTC stands for Reserve Officers’ Training Corps. The purpose of ROTC is to train college students to become officers in the U.S. armed forces. The purpose of the Army ROTC is to prepare students for commissioning as officers in the Active Army, Army Reserve, or Army National Guard. The overall program is designed to aid students in developing the abilities and attitudes that will make them academically successful and to develop well educated junior officers.
The University of South Florida’s ROTC program is made up of many students that graduated from Freedom. For reasons other than proximity and cost efficiency, USF’s unit continues to attract students from Freedom.
“ I think because we work so closely with the group at USF,” AJ Taylor, a USF ROTC Cadet explained. “We create this link among the two groups of students pretty early.”
Students at Freedom High School are constantly volunteering or participating in campus events at USF. All of these things create a sense of familiarity among the students and ensure that they feel comfortable transitioning to USF’s program.
“Personally I think because we know first hand how much this program can help us, we tend to view it as a safe and reliable option for our college caree” Nina Matos, a sophomore in USF’s unit said.
Students at Freedom (especially those in the high school’s JROTC program) work with USF’s unit regularly. The high school students are also exposed to recruiting from the college’s program and are thoroughly educated on the benefits of joining the unit.
“I don’t know where I’d be without this unit,” Ribecki explained, “ but I know I wouldn’t be half the person I am now without this ROTC family behind me.”
Students that are looking for a program that is going to help them grow chose ROTC because they know they are guaranteed results. Students from Freedom chose the ROTC program at the University of South Florida because it’s like joining a close network that’s there to help you succeed in the future. USF’s program has influenced the lives of many college kids and will always be seen as a second family for the students of Freedom High School.