I always thought that every teacher—or even every adult person—was very kind and had a motherly or fatherly attitude that was good. That was when I was in preschool. In kindergarten, I felt the same way, and in first grade and even second grade when I stayed back, I felt that teachers really cared. However, it was around that time in second grade when my parents divorced, and over the next few years I was quite depressed. After third grade, I almost felt that teachers didn’t care, that they looked down on me. I started to realize that not everyone cares about me, that many people only care about themselves.

During this time, my dad was really the most influential person in my life. He’s really had the biggest impact on me. Yet I still never really had a motherly figure. Not that my mother died, it’s just that she wasn’t around all the time. So I would always look to female teachers for guidance, and I guess I never found one. It’s funny, because I always seem to have a better relationship with male teachers, and being raised mostly by my dad, I guess I naturally interact better with men. And it’s probably for the better, because one day I’ll need to grow up and be a man.

Now I’m in high school, and it’s very different from second grade. A little over a year ago, I met the Colonel. He runs the Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (JROTC) unit at WMRHS. I joined this JROTC unit almost before I even got into high school. They have this fundraiser at New Hampshire Motor Speedway for parking cars, and so the summer before I went to high school, I helped park cars. This is where I met the Colonel, although we really didn’t talk during this event. It wasn’t until the later days of my freshman year that we had more conversations. One day during lunch in the JROTC room, he asked if he could talk to me in private. He asked my brother to clean a peach on one of the tables, and I did it thinking he’d asked me. Colonel was waiting in the conference room for me. He asked me, “What staff position would you want?” In JROTC, there are multiple staff positions, just like a normal military unit would have. I answered with “S2.” The S2 works with security and makes sure we have everything. Basically, the Colonel and I got into a conversation about how he wanted me to be the S1. And I didn’t know it yet, but the S1 is the hardest (or at least the most time-consuming) job of all. And I was stupid enough to take it. Later that year I was given this job, and well…it was ok.

Since then, the Colonel and I have had a lot more interaction, and he seems to care a little more about me. He always tells me what I should be told. If I do something wrong, he’ll say I did something wrong. If I’m doing a good job, he’ll tell me I’m doing a good job. In all this, he has shown me how to be responsible. Of all the things I need to lead, I need to learn RESPONSIBILITY.

—White Mountains Regional High School