Thursday, March 19, 2015

Want to meet some great college kids? Follow me

If you only read the headlines, you might think America’s college campuses are going to hell in a hand basket.

A frat at the University of Oklahoma decided it was cool to chant atrociously racist messages. It wasn’t.

Now Penn State is back in the news, with a frat there accused of taking photos of women who had visited their house and were, how should be say... in various states of undress - and consciousness - and posting them on a private Facebook page. That story also is making national headlines.

The story I covered at Widener University last night was not. That's a shame.

We took our 'Live From the Newsroom' show to the Chester campus for our monthly visit with the great kids in Professor Tim Scepansky's communications class. They do all the heavy lifting, working the cameras and sound. If you missed the show, you can catch the replay here.

Our very special guests were several cadets involved in the Widener ROTC program, proud members of the Dauntless Battalion.

Haley Photis is a senior nursing student; Lloyd Flores and Alex McCarthy are both juniors. Flores wants to take up political science and sees his future in the military, preferably running an armored division. McCarthy is majoring in environmental science and is planning to do great things making this Earth a better place. Photis wants to see the world as a nurse. It's one of the hallmarks of the Widener ROTC program. It consistently cranks out high-caliber nurses. In fact, in 2006, 2007 and 2010 Widener produced more U.S. Army nurses that most other schools in America.

Our thanks to battlion leader Lt. Col. Matthew Ignatovig, and Keith Karbel, who is in charge of recruiting and enrollment. Both explained the attraction of ROTC, and the commitment it requires. Anyone can take the course in the first two years, but then most students must make a choice to become either an enrolled cadet or contracted cadet. As you might guess, the key is 'contracted.'

Students are literally making a 'contract' with the government and are required to do eight years of service upon graduation. Usually only four of those are in active duty.

There is also a serious scholarship opportunity, as in full tuition and other costs.

One word kept coming up again and again throughout the night. Both Ignatovig and Karbel mentioned it.

But it was also the first word out of these three kids' mouths.

The word was 'leadership.'

It's what they pride themselves in, what they strive for.

I could not have been more impressed.

In the wake of what is going on around the nation, these kids could prove a beacon, and more importantly, leaders.

That's what they're all about.

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