Spanish Springs High School senior Edalyd Martinez said the flag ceremony spectacle is one situation where she feels most in control.
“It’s really about knowing what to do,” 17-year-old Martinez said of the Color Guard. “I like that feeling that I know what to do and I know what is going on, and I just fit in and feel good about the whole thing.”
Martinez joined the Spanish Springs High JROTC program as a freshman where she said her original interest in the military helped propel her into a course where she discovered herself. In her fourth and final year in JROTC, Martinez has been made Cadet Sgt. 1st Class, Platoon Leader of about 20 fellow cadets and Commander of the Color Guard.
“When I started as a freshman I was kind of the quiet, shy person,” she said. “I was scared to get involved in the different tasks we have here, and throughout the years I started letting out myself so I could get involved in different things. The Sergeants had a huge impact in that because they saw things that I didn’t see in myself, and that really inspired me to get involved.
“I feel that last year, since it was my first year (as Commander of the Color Guard), I didn’t really have the support for the other people because I was so hard on myself to get everything done. This year, I will try to improve myself to support those cadets who are new to Color Guard.”
Martinez has taken increasing responsibility in the school’s program and now works closely with the company leader to ensure the battalion, which has more than 200 students involved, runs efficiently. She said in her four years rising through the ranks, that teamwork is the number one asset to being a leader in the battalion.
“With the whole ROTC, you have to work in a team or you won’t get anything done,” she said, “So that is the most important thing that we work on with everyone. We have to get everyone involved in certain events all the way down to the youngest cadets.”
On a personal level, Martinez said JROTC has influenced her other various classes, including three years of French, and said her leadership has grown throughout her school and personal life.
“The huge thing that probably has impacted me is that this class not only helps you within this class but it helps with other classes as well,” she said. “You incorporate your leadership skills into other classes and that is huge for me.”
Martinez said she would like to make a career in the military following graduation from high school and feels that the National Guard is her best fit, although she contemplated starting in the Navy. She said the Army or Marines could be in her future as well following the National Guard, but she needs time to define her career in the armed forces.
Martinez said if she decides not to pursue a career in the military, she would like to enter a medical field, such as nursing.
Outside of school, Martinez keeps herself busy in community programs and she keeps active in local soccer organizations. She said she is most looking forward to the various events Spanish Springs High’s JROTC Color Guard will be conducting, including Cougar sports events and the Veteran’s Parade.