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Kelsey Zhao (Company Executive Officer)

 

Hey guys I’m Cadet Lieutenant Kelsey Zhao, born and raised in Boston, Massachusetts, first generation Chinese-American and the Executive Officer of the NJROTC Unit at O’Bryant. I am also a sophomore at OB, been here since 7th grade and been in ROTC since 8th so it’s my third year (NS3) in the program. Last year I was the Senior Chief Executive Officer so it was a big jump in ranks and positions. As Senior Chief XO (Executive Officer) I assisted the Senior Chief CO (Commanding Officer) in ranking cadets up and preparing award ceremonies with decorations, snacks, drinks and even a cake. This year as Company Executive Officer, I assist the Unit Commanding Officer with her duties, manage everyday activities, meetings and I make my rounds across the unit to make sure everyone is in tip-top shape. As I’m approaching my fourth year in this school, I’m also always available to pupils with any questions about the program or the school in general. I am a younger XO so just like everyone else, I’m learning new things everyday.

 

Along with being Executive Officer, I am also the sexual harassment prevention person so every once in a while you will hear me talk about how we can prevent sexual harassment and  harassment in general not just in the unit but everywhere. If you ever feel uncomfortable with someone or about a certain topic, never hesitate to let the person know. My phone number and email are posted all over the school so feel free to contact me, anyone in the Chain of Command or a trusted individual with whatever issue it is; harassment, bullying, suicide prevention, etc.

 

Lastly, a “short” story about my time in NJROTC and my experience in the program. As I mentioned, I got accepted into O’Bryant in 7th grade however my first year was all remote because of the pandemic so I walked in on the first day of 8th grade super scared because I knew absolutely no one and where any of my classes are, even though I was suppose to because I was suppose to be at the school in 7th grade. On top of that I joined NJROTC simply because it sounded interesting on the google form where I didn’t know that two years later I would be running the exact program I was so scared to join. Normally NJROTC is a high school course but my exact year, they opened up the program to 8th graders so I enrolled in a high school class not knowing what I got myself into. The uniforms were not it at first. The blank khaki uniform with the funky shaped cap made me want to dig a grave for myself when I walked into the building. But as I wore my uniform more often, slowly collecting awards on the way, I found pride walking through those halls. Some might say the uniform is ugly or just why but remembering that every Thursday, over a hundred cadets are matching with me makes me enjoy putting my uniform on :) I had no life and no friends back then so I also joined Color Guard and the Chain of Command as Senior Chief XO during the end of my NS1 year and I quickly came to know all my seniors who were so welcoming to me, laughing in the office with no filter. Here I stand now, overseeing my juniors (which is crazy to think I have people younger than me in the unit) leading cadets in parades, and watching everyone that welcomed me with open arms when I first join the Chain of Command graduate because I’m a whole year younger than all of them. :’)

Executive Officer C/LT Juliana Tamayo
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