Teen Spotlight Update – April 2023
I [left] JROTC last year after I graduated. In my last year, I was the Training and Advancements Officer and was in charge of the department within my unit. After four years in the program, it was my best high school experience. It will be an integral chapter in my life.
Doing JROTC as a person with albinism was a challenge. At the start of my freshman year, I needed to work with my CO on accommodating albinism. We worked out a system in which five minutes before heading outside for physical training or other outdoor activities I could leave to put on sunscreen and be allowed to wear sunglasses.
When it came to what we learned in the classroom much of it was memorization but I was allowed to sit in the front or at the computer. i performed well in academic competitions with other schools developing a reputation as one of the top cadets in the state when it came to academics. The competitions were a jeopardy structure with questions based primarily on naval history.
One thing I learned after my service in NJROTC was to face adversity head-on and not let it stop you from doing what you love. I received plenty of comments both to my face and behind my back saying I couldn’t do NJROTC because of my albinism. Those comments just made me push harder than ever to prove I was one of the best for a reason. I left the program highly decorated and with a reputation that still holds a year after I left. I am continuing to do what I love in college studying engineering with hopes of either joining the US Navy or working for the Navy as a civilian.
Cadet Lieutenant Junior Grade Adam Wolson (NS4 Graduate)
Adam’s Original Teen Spotlight Submission:
My name is Adam, I am a child with albinism (obviously). I was born in Nan Chang China on 17 December 2003. I was later adopted into my current family who I have lived with since I was 3 years old. My early years in the US were however not good to say the least. I was and still am a fairly frail and skinny child due to lack of muscle development in my orphanage in China. I also had a severe stomach virus that was very bad (according to my parents). Although that has not stopped me from being very curious. My parents have told me that if it could fit in my mouth I’d eat it (and try hard even if it didn’t) which probably didn’t help the stomach bug.
When I started school however things did not go very well bullying was a major part of it because of my albinism. I will say up until 8th grade I didn’t take it well. I had little friends and was not very social. But, when I started high school and my school’s Naval Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (NJROTC) things looked up. My fellow cadets (classmates) were very supportive, and I really came out of my shell. I am still in the program in 11th grade and love it.
I am trying to get into college and become an engineer and work for the US Navy as a node to NJROTC. I have little doubt I can do it if I push myself. I am excited for what the future holds and am ready to face it. I feel that when people say my albinism holds me back it makes me want to push that much harder to prove them wrong. I see my albinism not as a hindrance but, as an aspect of myself that I need to work with and overcome. Adversity in my mind is something that we all deal with no matter who we are. How we overcome that adversity is the key to success.
P.S If your high school has an JROTC program it is good to join (not biased or anything 😉 )