Cadet Testimonies

JD CHAREST, 2011 Senior Class President, NJROTC Executive Officer


My first experience with NJROTC at Liberty was when the unit came to Maywood during my SDR 

period.  I simply attended the presentation so I could get out of my SDR class.  I was amazed at the presentation and became interested in the program.  After my first quarter in the program, I wanted 

to quit.  After a couple of the upperclassmen talked to me and challenged me to be more involved, I 

became extremely motivated and excited that I had found a home at Liberty.  Since those days I 

have grown personally in areas such leadership, motivation, and discipline.  I take a rigorous course 

load and am extremely active in clubs such as journalism and Link crew.  In addition, I am the Senior Class president.  That is not mentioning the amount of work I do for the NJROTC Unit at Liberty.  It is without a doubt that I would not be where I am today without NJROTC.   It is also, without a doubt, that 

I would not have learned as much as I have, been more dedicated, and more involved in my school 

and my community.   All of this has made my high school tenure extremely fun, and it has also made 

me more prepared for my future than any other activity at Liberty.


SUZANNE BJORNSON, NJROTC Commanding Officer

There is always a kid in every class who never wants to talk.  When they do, it is because the 
teacher wants to know an answer, or they are in a group where they are forced to talk to others. 
I was one of those kids, that is, until I signed up for Liberty High School’s NJROTC.  When I first 
signed up for the program, I questioned what I was doing in that class.  It was a class for leaders, 
and frankly I was not a leader.  At least, I wasn't before NJROTC.  After being in the program, I found myself more confident, more self assured, and more comfortable being a leader, even in uncomfortable situations.

JOHN LORENZ, Precision Rifle Team Commander

…. NJROTC is so much more than just another class at Liberty.  It teaches leadership and self-respect, 
and gets students involved in the school and in the community.  Because it's essentially a student-run program, you have a great opportunity to learn and practice leadership skills.  I know that when I entered Liberty as a freshman, I was not the most involved or outgoing student.  I preferred sitting back and listening, and was uncomfortable speaking in front of groups or taking charge.  However, this class helps with that.  After a semester in a leadership position, especially if you are placed as a Platoon Commander, you will be far more comfortable not only leading a group, but also delegating responsibility and making sure the job gets done.  In addition, there's a respect factor simply being in NJROTC, which comes from knowing you're actually contributing to something bigger.  P.E. is just another class to take, while NJROTC is more of a unit, a community, and very soon you find that you're proud to wear the uniform identifying you as a part of that community.

GEDDY BRANDT, Assistant Drill Team Commander and Choir Commander

The first time I had ever experienced anything to do with the NJROTC program at LHS was when they came to visit Maywood during my 8th grade year for an assembly.  I never really understood what NJROTC was or what they did.  At the assembly, they explained what NJROTC was, presented the colors, and did a dual rifle routine.  I was thoroughly impressed and was excited about what NJROTC had to offer.  I was at first hesitant to sign up, so I convinced my friend to sign up with me.  After I signed up, I never knew that this program would literally change my life and help me to become a better person in so many ways.  NJROTC has become a place where I feel a sense of belonging and I have a family.  I was always the “outsider” always looking in, and I finally found that group where I fit in.  I can be myself, but just a better version of myself. When I joined the drill team and other teams, I found a new sense of pride, dedication, and responsibility.  I never knew how far I’d go with these teams and actually be excited to wake up early and see my drill family!  NJROTC has given me the hope that I can achieve anything in my life no matter how difficult it might be.  I’m so glad I joined this program because without this, without my Drill Family or Chief and Commander, I have no idea where I’d be.  I will never forget how much this program has helped me.