The ROTC Program- Brewster’s Pathway to Success

This year has brought in more scholarships, awards, and commendations than ever, and it’s all because of its leadership and members.

Axel Britez and Philip Ostojic

Many students at BHS are familiar with the NJROTC unit at our school. As of today, it currently comprises 150 members, and that number has been on a steady increase over the years. You may have seen them marching down the halls with orange-tipped rifles or constantly adjusting ribbons on their infamous khaki uniforms, but how much do you really know about what goes on behind those wooden double doors?

Honor, courage, and commitment are the U.S. Navy’s core values. This is among the first and simplest statements a cadet must memorize and internalize. It’s more than just a phrase they’re asked to repeat on inspection day; it is the basic foundation of a highly complex system of teaching unique to NJROTC. 

The most unique thing about ROTC is that it is almost entirely run by students. In a cadet’s first year, they have nearly a dozen “sub-clubs” to join with and deserve their talents and strengths. Within ROTC, students can choose to become members of the Athletic team, Academic team, Rocket team, Drone team, Military Drill team, Marksmanship team, and compete at the national level within each sub group. Under the guidance of Captain Matthew Loughlin and Master Chief Michael Campbell, a cadet in their second year will have the choice of remaining the same rank, or assuming a position of leadership. ROTC gives the opportunity for any student who puts in sufficient effort to be in a position where they are in charge of anywhere from a dozen to 150 cadets. For each position, there is a higher up/senior authority, all the way up until the triad. The triad is a group of three cadets in charge of three different sectors, with the highest ranking of the three being the commanding officer, the student head of ROTC.

So what does it all amount to? All the memorization of different seaports and important officials, learning to navigate with a map and compass, flipping a rifle, or ranking up and getting flashy new uniforms (for which you need to memorize a whole new set of measurements)?

The importance of ROTC and military style learning in general isn’t necessarily the content being learned, but the ingrained lessons of discipline, fortitude, and mental sharpness. There are several studies and accounts of military related extracurriculars being beneficial, but we need not look further than our own seniors.

This year, ROTC’s Commanding Officer is Emma Bridges. She is also one of the newest recipients of the full ride Army ROTC scholarship. The ROTC scholarship is extremely competitive and is given by the U.S. Military to Cadets interested in commissioning into the prestigious rank of officer.  She is joined by several other NJROTC Cadets at our school, such as Admin Nick DiFabbio, who received a Navy ROTC scholarship, and Athletic Team Commander Cadet Chief Petty Officer Patrick Ford, who received a Marine ROTC scholarship to the prestigious Vanderbilt University. The Academic Team commander Suhaan Akula was even accepted into The United States Military Academy at West Point, which upholds an acceptance rate of less than 10%. He himself commented that without Brewster’s NJROTC, he likely wouldn’t have even thought of applying.

Our remarkable seniors serve as inspiration for younger cadets, like Platoon Commander Jarrid Brygmann, who is an excellent student and aspires to one day be a trauma surgeon in the Navy. He pointed out that “we (NJROTC) are so diverse, student-wise” including all types of students such as “sports kids, nerds, and band kids” who can grow and evolve as leaders together. Outstanding cadet and future music star, Hubert Maliszewski says that the class has “given him more confidence” and that he can “take the leadership role in situations that he wouldn’t have otherwise.”

NJROTC’s primary goal is never recruitment, but to help students discern a talent they have, develop it, and provide unparalleled opportunities to create a future from it. As a result, ROTC is a community of high achieving students who are eager to excel alongside their peers. Thought none of it could be accomplished without the guidance, patience, and wisdom of Captain Matthew Loughlin and Master Chief Michael Campbell.