Follow the Leader

Senior takes ROTC responsibility in stride


Commander Jeff Williams walks into the chaos that was the ROTC room. His cadets were supposed to be in uniform and ready to go; however, it appeared not one person was prepared. Incredulously, he asks the disorganized room,“Is there even a single person in this room that I can leave and feel confident that someone is actually in charge?”

A single and unexpected voice pipes up, “I’ll do it.”

It was then-sophomore Konnor Halteman, the only person in the classroom with his uniform perfect and prepared for the task ahead.

“I always tell these guys, you never know when your opportunity is going to come,” Williams said. “Even as a sophomore, [Halteman] stood out in the right way, and he took charge. When his chance came, he was ready. He was the only one out of 30 that was.”

Now Halteman is a senior, and the current commanding officer of ROTC. Halteman originally wanted to be a part of the Marine Corps. Though those aspirations changed, he still credits two particular people for spurring his interest in joining ROTC.

“The two people that inspired me the most were my great grandfather, he was in the army right after World War II, and my great uncle, who was not [in the] military but he came from a military family,” Halteman said. “Me being the first male born into my family since my grandfather, they were really excited to have another boy in the family so they could do manly things, and part of that was like putting that military inspiration in me.”

The process of becoming a leader of ROTC is a long one. Halteman attended a basic leadership training camp and a leadership academy, as well as evaluations from the ROTC teachers and previous leaders of the organization.

“[Halteman] is very mature, very responsible, and dependable,” Williams said. “One of the things I really like about him and one of the reasons why he was chosen for the job that he’s in is because he relates to people well. It doesn’t make a difference if it’s a fellow senior or a new freshman.”

As a leader of an organization spanning over 100 students, Halteman stays busy managing the ins-and-outs of daily life in ROTC. He also serves as the captain of the marksmanship and academic team within the program.

“[Halteman] is a busy guy, but for the most part he’s there when he needs to be,” senior executive officer Christian Villarreal said. “He can be serious and have a good time at the same time, especially in a stressful workplace.”

Halteman now plans on studying political science and international affairs in college, but always credits ROTC as the foundation he needed to succeed.

“I think [ROTC] is a huge boost in the area I want to study and get my degree in, because a lot of political science is [about] being a leader and being a voice or representative for a person or a group of people,” Halteman said. “[ROTC] has helped me build the found foundation for those skills I’ll need.”

Over the summer, Halteman was given the opportunity to be apart of the Invision program. He traveled to Washington, D.C. to study national security, defense and diplomacy while getting a chance to tour Washington landmarks like the federal state building and the Saudi Arabian embassy.

Thanks to the program, Halteman and all other alumni were invited to attend the presidential inauguration in January. Halteman has decided to share this experience with the school, and is pairing up with the newspaper to give a look into his experience there.

“I thought it would be a good idea considering I might be most likely the only one from the school that will be there,” Halteman said. “I mean, no matter who’s picked to be president, it’s a historical thing. I thought it would be a good opportunity to sort of represent the school in a way at [the inauguration].”

Though Halteman still has quite a bit of time before graduating, he offers some early advice for the next leaders of ROTC: never be afraid to take charge.

“Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there,” Halteman said. “You know other kids might think it’s weird that you’re doing it, but it’s a great program and it teaches you a lot on how to be a better person and all that. Take pride in it and do the best you can do in it.”