Student Spotlight Archive
|Sergeant Mary Henderson – R.O.T.C.
One thing that few people seem to realize we have here on the Central U campus is an active and somewhat popular R.O.T.C. military presence. You may have seen them running through the grounds early in the morning or heading out for a weekend training camp, but most of their work is not seen in the open on campus. Their boot camp weekends are held off site and kept strictly private and their officer training classes are closed to non-military students, so you may not have seen them around.
Since this area of the school is mostly unknown, we thought it only right to spotlight one of its premier members. This is Sergeant Mary Henderson of the U.S. Army and most highly awarded member of the Central U R.O.T.C. currently on campus, and one of the ten top most awarded since they started the program.
When we asked for the interview and some pictures, the only demand she gave was on the location of both. She took us out to a place up on Large Lake, away from the tourist traps and general dwellings. We had to hike into the final spot, which I will admit took a lot out of me, but she didn't even break a sweat. The spot was beautiful, but she wouldn't explain the significance of it or why we had to go there for the interview. She would simply smile and look around each time I asked. So we sat down on an old dry log and talked.
"When I first came to Central U I didn't plan on going into the military. In fact, it was probably the last thing on my mind." She started explaining about her time on campus, getting to where she was now. "By the end of my first year I had established myself in both the academic and sports arenas and that apparently caught the eye of the recruiter. Starting with boot camp late that summer I was brought into the R.O.T.C. the following school year."
She went on to tell us more about what her early training was like and how she felt "destined for something big in the ranks, just not high in leadership." She mostly focused her time on statistics, languages, coding, and encryption. From the records we saw, her grades have been top notch in all her classes and she continues to excel in her athletic pursuits. She modestly pushes off our mentions of these achievements saying, "It's nothing really. I just happen to understand those kinds of things."
|Our discussion continued on, but mostly just about what kinds of things she does in the military, but didn't hit anything interesting until we talked about her future plans. "I think I want to go into cryptography and long distance surveillance. Codes and languages just seem to sing to me, so it seems the perfect fit. Plus, once my service duty is up I'll be ripe for work in the CIA or FBI, which is where I think I'll really make a place for myself."
She then went on to talk about all the kinds of cases she'd studied and would like to work on once she got there. You could see the fire in her eyes as she spoke about them. This was truly where she wanted to be in the future, but you could tell she was still young and wanted to have fun in the mean time, so our conversation switched over to that. She talked about her friends and how she spent what little free time the military allowed her out partying with them. She loved the local club scene and spent most free weekends out dancing.
When we asked her about how she felt about Central U and the special rules here she again smiled that same smile she gave when she wouldn't tell us about this place, but this time spoke about what she was thinking. "I love this place. I don't think I would have been able to deal with the rigors of the R.O.T.C. if it wasn't the special unit done through the college here. They had to make some concessions because of the rules, so it made things more to my taste. If it was the 'real' military, I never would have even made it through boot camp." But that's where she trailed off again, looking off into the distance and falling silent.
I tried to get her to talk again by asking her about the rules some more, but she seemed done with the questions and simply answered by lifting her Army shirt saying, "Rules are to be followed, not questioned." And that was that. We stayed up there a bit longer and took the pictures, but nothing more of any value to this interview was said.
If Sergeant Henderson is anything like the rest of the R.O.T.C. here on campus, I'd say our future is in good hands.
Last modified on 2013/9/8 by Admin