Ida S. Baker High School senior Abby Kingery has a daunting task at hand, but it's one she very much looks forward to.
Kingery, a cadet with the school's Junior ROTC program, was promoted to Area Commander, and will oversee more than 5,400 cadets within the school system.
Kingery was selected for the position over 13 other candidates after a rigorous application and interview process. Lt. Col. (Retired) Thomas Madigan, director of Army Instruction for the school district, and Ida S. Baker Principal Melissa Robery presided over the ceremony on Sept. 11.
Kingery said she was ecstatic when she learned of her promotion, adding that it was a very challenging process, but one she was ready for.
"I was already learning the curriculum from being on leadership teams and was pretty well-rounded already," Kingery said. "I had already been to national competition. I just had to learn to conduct myself in front of a board."
Kingery has been in JROTC all four years at Ida, which made her eligible to become commander, said Maj. Gordon Rodell, who runs the JROTC program at the school.
Kingery will be in charge of one of the largest JROTC programs in the nation. Her duties will include overseeing cadet participation in the Veteran's Day parade, the district's JROTC Ball, Raider Challenge competition, Drill Meet and the Lee County Awards Ceremony for the cadets enrolled in one of the county's 14 Army JROTC programs.
"I'm excited for it. It took a couple days to settle in after the congratulations before it was time to go to work," Kingery said. "I know the other school commanders and we're all good friends and we communicate and they're pumped for the school year."
Kingery passed the credit to her instructors for preparing her and telling her how it would go and drilling her on the interview.
"When I went in front of the board, it was nothing new. There were no surprises, I knew what would happen and they prepared me," Kingery said.
"It's her dedication, the amount of work she puts into it. When she started as a freshman she did the things that made her stand out," Rodell said. "She was the captain of our leadership team that went to Washington last year."
She was also on the team two years ago that finished second nationally, Rodell said.
Kingery said she has applied for her JROTC scholarship and plans to go to college to become a nurse before joining the army after graduation and become an officer as a registered nurse.