COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo -

The pursuit of excellence and doing it what it takes to achieve it is in the eyes of Navy Junior ROTC students at Mesa Ridge High School.  They are learning life lessons from their instructors that will follow them years after the graduate.

Cadet Commander Chase Frankford is a Mesa Ridge senior.  He told me his four years have been filled with learning about himself and what he wants out of life and how to achieve it.  He thanks the program, "I've learned to communicate better with people, how to lead a large group of people and honoring the military."  Frankford has currently been accepted to the Colorado School of Mines but he is also eying another goal, "Currently I'm applying to the Air Force Academy.  I already got my nomination from Senator Mark Udall.  Hopefully I can attend with my brother who is a current cadet at the service academy."

Chief Petty officer Kaitlyn Achen is a sophomore at Mesa Ridge and this is her second year with the Navy Junior ROTC.  She believes her instructors are also helping her become a more motivated and better leader, "You can trust them with everything. They have your back.  They are like your second parents."

Tony Cook is a retired Navy Senior Chief Petty Officer.  He's been an instructor with the program for six years at Mesa Ridge.  The program itself has been around since 1997 at the facility.  He believes the Navy Junior ROTC staff are helping to groom future leaders for the military and civilian world, "I'm surprised they pay me to do this.  I'm blessed to be here in a great program, a great school."

This Navy Junior ROTC program is one that has been making a big impact among Colorado High Schools with similar programs.  Mesa Ridge students have won 15 years in a row of championships in military style drills and academics.  They just beat other schools in a competition last week.  Trophies crowd the room of the ROTC program to reinforce that excellence is earned and worked for after countless hours. 

These teens and their instructors are a good example of the positives of our community and our Wear Red Friday Heroes.

You may know someone who is a Wear Red Friday Hero. Go back to our Wear Red Section and nominate them.