It's no accident Mikayla is going to change the world.
Mikayla Hollingsworth is an accidental Air Force JROTC member. Or maybe she isn’t.
When asked how she got involved in the program the Lincoln-Way Central senior looks at her mom, Katie, and laughs.
“This is a funny story,” Mikayla said.
She explained that she was really sick during Freshman Orientation, and she just barely remembers walking past all the tables featuring clubs and extracurriculars to join.
“I was running a fever; it was kind of a blur,” she recalled. “They were just handing out flyers, and I took an ROTC one.
“My mom was like, ‘So what do you want to do?’ and I handed her the flyer and said, ‘This.’”
Katie asked her, “Are you sure?”
“I am sure,” Mikayla responded. “And that’s how I got into it.”
“It was a fever-induced fog,” Katie said.
But Mikayla wouldn’t change a thing.
“I think when I started it I was a little intimidated,” Mikayla said. “But I ended up really enjoying it and I decided to continue on.”
Mikayla is in her fourth year of the JROTC. She likes the self-discipline she has learned, and that through the program, she has met her best friends.
She acknowledges that many freshman girls might join the group only so they can get out of swimming in their PE class. But Mikayla doesn’t believe in quitting – especially things she enjoys.
In addition to JROTC, Mikayla has had a long softball career, which she began at six years old. Her dad, Mike, has been her coach for much of it. She enjoys writing poetry, is interested in forensics, and can see herself majoring in Biology, though she is currently undecided.
She juggles these interests with a lot of self-discipline, which is the root of the JROTC program.
“I feel like I’ve gotten more responsible as time has gone on with ROTC because they value responsibility and accountability, and being a part of something that is bigger than yourself,” Mikayla said. “It definitely has made me take a step back and think about how I go about stuff.”
Katie credits Master Sgt. Dan Schliffka, the JROTC Coordinator, for being a great example and leader.
“(Master Sgt. Schliffka) knows how to push them without going too far,” Katie said. “He knows exactly how to get the most out of them. We really appreciate that about him.
“He sees all the qualities of the kids, and he puts them exactly where they need to be in order to develop their leadership skills.”
“Even if it’s out of their comfort zone,” Mikayla agreed.