What cadet Meredith Oakes remembers most from being a first-year student in the Virginia Tech Corps of Cadets is the enthusiasm and energy upper-class cadets brought to her training.
“They were eager to be there. That attitude is very contagious, and I wanted to be there, too,” said Oakes, a junior in Army ROTC from Woodbridge, Virginia, double majoring in international studies and Russian, both in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences.
Oakes wants to pay that experience forward to more than 400 cadets who make up the Class of 2022. They arrive on campus Aug. 11 to begin New Cadet Week, the equivalent to basic training in the corps.
Her efforts actually started this summer and spanned the eight weeks she spent in Latvia with Project Global Officer, a Department of Defense program aimed at improving the language skills, regional expertise, and intercultural communication ability of future military officers.
“Despite being half-way around the world in Latvia, she created training documents and drafted company policies in order to prepare for the fall semester. She sets the example of how to treat fellow cadets while constantly maintaining proper military bearing and a positive attitude,” said cadet Logan Grow, a senior in Army ROTC from Richmond, Virginia, majoring in psychology in the College of Science. Grow is the commander for the corps’ Charlie Company, where Oakes is a first sergeant, responsible for overseeing training and the upper-class training staff.
Oakes knows the power that positive attitude can have on new cadets, and her goal for the semester is to make sure everyone in her unit is challenged and motivated to do their best.
It all starts Saturday, when more than 150 upper-class cadets will begin to oversee training for the first-year cadets. They will be taught everything from military training — how to salute, to march and perform drill, to wear uniforms properly — to life skills of this inclusive and diverse Hokie community.
New Cadet Week ends with a parade marking the acceptance of the new cadets into the corps at 10 a.m. Aug. 18 on the Drillfield.
The community is invited to watch the parade, a long-standing tradition that began with 132 cadets in October 1872, when all students were cadets and Virginia Tech was known as the Virginia Agricultural and Mechanical College.
The Highty-Tighties, the regimental band, will play, and Skipper, the Corps of Cadets cannon, will be fired when the cadets first enter the Drillfield, at the first note of the national anthem, and the first note of "Tech Triumph."