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Just because no tears fell during Mooseheart’s Naval Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (NJROTC) Change of Command Ceremony on May 5 doesn’t mean there weren’t heightened emotions as outgoing Company Commander Aishah Adebayo handed the ceremonial sword to incoming commander Styles Redmond.
“It was really sad. I thought I was going to cry, but I didn’t. (Redmond) deserves it though,” Adebayo said.
Redmond could see the emotion in Adebayo’s face after she handed over the sword and then transferred her lapel insignia to him.
“I could see the tears in her eyes,” Redmond said. “I’m excited for my time, being the new Commanding Officer for Mooseheart. ”I’m looking forward to my chance to lead the Mooseheart company and set my own mark.”
U.S. Navy Warrant Officer (Ret.) Rick Smith, Mooseheart’s lead NJROTC officer, said the Change of Command should be an emotional moment for those involved. While a month remains before the June 3 high school commencement, this is the first of many shifts as the seniors prepare to leave campus.
“It is a big deal. The person who’s in charge has worked for four years in the program, earning that position. They spent a year in command, and now they have to turn that over to someone else, and you know it’s hard for them,” said Smith.
Adebayo will enroll in South Suburban College in South Holland, IL and plans to study athletic training. She said a military career may be in her future.
“I want to earn my bachelor’s degree first, but then I have been thinking about the Navy,” Adebayo said. “We’ll see after I graduate. The responsibilities and leadership qualities I’ve developed in the program have made me want to do something like that.”
Redmond arrived at Mooseheart in 2007, has literally grown up at Mooseheart and first saw the Change of Command when he was an eighth grader in 2013. The NJROTC program is mandatory for all Mooseheart High School students.
“It’s something I’ve been looking forward to since my eighth grade year, when I saw Brandon Gadson become the commanding officer. He was in my home on-campus, so I got to see what he did, and it was something I wanted to be,” Redmond said.