Dealing With Command, Both Good and Bad

April 4, 2023

The Top 4 for Sarah’s tenure as group commander together at the ROTC Military Ball. From left to right: Jake Rodriguez, Sarah Gardner, Riley Williamson, and Riley Neel. (Amy Steward)

Now that she’s a cadet colonel, there’s nothing that happens in ROTC that she isn’t aware of or organizing.

“There’s definitely days that I’m like, this is great, and days that I’m like, this is terrible,” said Gardner. “But I feel good about the work I do with ROTC.”

One of her favorite things is ROTC’s service requirement, because it means that she and other cadets are out volunteering most weekends. They’re most commonly seen at varsity football games in the fall, presenting colors for the national anthem or running school flags for each touchdown, but they also appear at public events and service projects all around town, including Boerne’s Christmas tourist favorite.

“I’m on a first name basis with the lady who runs Dickens on Main,” said Gardner. “The amount of people I know around the community of Boerne is just wild.”

However, Gardner’s love for what she does doesn’t stop her from facing issues.

“I would say somewhere between 70, 80% of the program is probably men. Which makes sense, I mean, because it’s military-based. The military is mostly men,” said Gardner. “Holding your own in that kind of male-dominated environment, you kind of have to stand up for yourself.”

She recalled several instances of people not taking her seriously, whether because of her gender or her late start, including some problems with freshmen cadets.

Last year, while a student aide in a freshman ROTC class, a student informed Gardner that one of her cadets kept calling her names behind her back that were derogatory to women. 

“And I was like, well, as soon as he gets confident enough to say it to my face, then we’ll have a problem,” Gardner said.”I don’t really care what you say behind my back.”

While just one of the problems she’s dealt with, that interaction helped her establish a rule she sticks to: there’s no point living life based on what other people say, because most of them are silent when it comes time to take any action.

“You learn to take care of yourself and not worry about what other people think. You do the best you can do,” said Gardner.

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About the Contributor
Photo of Amy Steward
Amy Steward, Editor-in-Chief

Hi there! I'm your editor, Amy Steward, and this is my fourth and final year with the newspaper. I've been doing journalism-type-things for as long as...

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