Amy Go ’17 has made quite a name for herself here on “The Hill” since her arrival in the fall of 2012. Her hard work and relentless effort have molded her into an impressive cadet and young woman. She has made the President’s List numerous times, commanded the drill team, helped lead the 2016 girls’ varsity soccer team to a conference championship, and became the first international student to earn the position of Corps Commander.
It was a challenging transition for Go when she first attended the R-MA. Go is from South Korea and was far from having a decent grasp on the English language. “I found myself laughing and smiling a lot because I could not understand what people were saying to me,” said Go. “I just pretended like I knew what was going on.”
The language barrier is often an obstacle for many of the international students here, but the cultural shock weighs in as well. “I wasn’t used to people saying ‘hi’ to each other all the time,” said Go. “And when people said hi to me I would bow to them because that’s what we do in Korea,” said Go. “Now I look like the weird one!”
The shift in language and culture was tough at first, but Go found comfort in the friends she made. “Lauren Anderson and Jordan Williams were my first friends here and they helped me out a lot,” she said. Go was not sure if she would attend the R-MA Upper School at first, but conversations about the future with Lauren and Jordan always involved high school at R-MA and she did not want to miss out on the exciting future with her new friends.
When Go entered her freshman year during the fall of 2013 she went to work immediately. She saw the Cadre members at R-MA and knew she wanted to be a part of it as soon as she saw their yellow chords and awesome responsibility. She did not only wanted to be a member of Cadre, but also wanted to be at the top of its ranks as R-MA’s Corps Commander. She put in all the work necessary. “I took harder courses, volunteered A LOT, became a member of the drill team, helped Cadre with wake-ups, I just stayed busy,” said Go.
Her efforts would bear fruit as she was named R-MA’s Corps Commander last May. Colonel Frank Link, USAF Retired, and Commandant of cadets at R-MA knew she was the right choice. “We needed to make sure that the Cadre took on a bigger role this year than last year as part of an effort to have students take ownership of the school,” explained Colonel Link. “Amy has a passion and focus that helped us start moving in that direction. Her commitment and positive attitude sets the bar for the other Cadets and demonstrates leadership by example.”
There is a scoring system used to determine who will make the best Corps Commander. The criteria is comprised of each cadets Air Force Junior ROTC grade, leadership within the JROTC, activity within the JROTC, hours of community service, personal conduct, and overall GPA. Air Force JROTC instructor, Master Sergeant Stephen Pederson, USAF Retired commented, “I can tell you that she had the top score of all cadets for both her sophomore to junior year, and her junior year to senior year. This is why she was selected for Command Chief for her junior year, and likely why she was selected for Corps Commander this year.”
“I was very excited because I was not sure I would get the position,” said Go. “A lot of kids told me ‘you won’t get it because you’re an international student’ or ‘you won’t get it because of your English.’” She certainly proved them all wrong.
On top of being R-MA’s Corps Commander, she was also awarded with the General MacArthur Foundation Award. The General MacArthur Foundation Award is awarded to the “most soldierly performance by a senior class cadet considering academics, athletics, and leadership in accordance with detailed standards developed by each institution.” The exemplary attitude and work ethic of Cadet Colonel Go is admirable and difficult to match.