Cadet Ruiz's speech to the Excalibur Society

By: Casey Robinson on Sep 6, 2013 | Categories: General, Athletics, Academic, Clubs, Open House, Summer Programs


Distinguished members
of the Excalibur
Society and alumni of
Carlisle Military School,
Camden Academy and
Camden Military Academy,
it is an honor to be
speaking here tonight.
On behalf of the corps
of cadets, I would like to
thank all of you for the
unconditional and never-ending support. This select few is what
makes CMA the molding environment it is.
My time in CMA has been rather short, considering this
is my second year in the Academy. Upon arriving here my junior
year in August of 2011, I did not know what to expect. Some
wrong turns have brought me to this fine institution, and I would
have never thought that almost in a year and a half I would have
the ability or even the honor to be speaking in front of such an
honorable crowd. My name is LTC Nestor Ruiz from Aguadilla,
Puerto Rico. I am the president of our Honor council, the Honor
Society, the student body and most importantly, I serve as
cadet Battalion Commander. Growing up in Puerto Rico is
peculiarly different than growing up in the mainland, and it was
a tough adjustment. We Hispanics have very important family
values and I thank my mom and my dad for their splendid job
they did of teaching me one of the most important values in life,
family. Without family, one has nothing. My childhood was full
of benevolent experiences and bumps in the road, and I thought I
was at the top of the world. When I reached adolescence, my life
started turning around. I hung around with the wrong crowd,
and made some bad choices. My mom and dad kept getting on
my case and I just did not want to listen. I was disrespectful,
defiant, I was not a person to be proud of. My whole sophomore
year was fight after fight, argument after argument, it just seemed
that I would never understand. The summer of 2011, my parents
talked to me about going to military school. My reaction was “oh
heck no”, and I’m sure that some of the alumni present reacted
the same way. I was going to attend CMA in the fall, and I just
needed to embrace the fact. I did not want to know anything
about the school and I did not even bother reading about it, or
even watching the DVD packet that they sent to my house.
Summer just rushed by and before I knew, I was on
a plane to South Carolina. Upon my arrival to the school, I
admit that I was petrified. I saw everybody in their crisp uniform,
tucked in shirts, uniform haircuts and I could just not imagine
myself in their position. In less than 20 minutes upon arriving
to the school, I was getting fitted for uniforms, and acquiring
different but numerous things needed for life in the Academy. I
received my schedule with some basic classes and on the top it
said: Company A. I asked myself, what is Company A? Before
coming here I did not know anything about the military system,
so I was just trying to take in all this new information of my
new life. Upon entering the Thompson Barracks I met my TAC
officer, which would turn out to be one of the most influential
people in my junior year, CSM Brooks. He showed me to my
room and quickly one of the Cadre came to help me straighten
out my room. Even though I thought that I was going to hang
tough in the goodbye to my parents, it was the hardest part of the
whole day. In a matter of minutes, I had a new and different life
creeping up the horizon.
Everybody remembers their first night at CMA as a
long and tiresome one, since one sleeps in another bed that is
not home, with a random person you just met, but I tell you,
when I hit that bunk I was so tired that I fell asleep quicker than
a newborn-baby. The next three days were spent learning facing
movements and different things that could and would make life
at CMA easier, like following orders. At first, taking orders from
other people my age was hard, but I just learned to get used to it.
If one wants to be a leader, one has to be a follower first. I had no
intentions of being a leader when I first got here, and who would
know that I had it in me.
The first day of school I went out to cross country practice
which is coached by LTC Heflin, one of the other influential
figures in the Academy. I made Varsity in the Cross Country
team and I had a lot of fun. After Cross Country season ended,
my assumption about the school changed. I figured out the
elements of life that I could take out of this school, the things that
could change it forever. When I was promoted to Sergeant I was
awarded the position of Squad leader. It was hard at first, but
there is nothing one cannot accomplish if you put your mind to
it. I was in charge of six cadets, and I thought that was a big deal
of the moment. Needless to say, I was excited. During my time as
a squad leader CSM Brooks taught me essential things of how to
be a leader. For example, to help people after I am squared away,
to lead by example, and that sometimes it just takes a little bit of
getting your hands dirty and helping out the people in need, not
just yelling and telling people what to do or where to go.
The second semester of my junior year was an excellent
one and it just flew past me. I was involved in National History
Day with LTC Heflin, joined the tennis team, and had the privilege
of being around one of the best staff and faculty in this fine
institution. As the year came to an end, I was informed that I
was going to be interviewed for the position of Battalion Commander
for the following year. Chills came down to my spine
when I heard the news, because for the first time in a long time, I
acknowledged I had taken the right decisions in life and that God
had brought me here for a reason. Long story short, May 20th of
2012, graduation came upon us. The class of 2012 was about to
depart and my class was about to officially be named seniors. The
graduation parade went by smoothly and I remember perfectly
the march down to the White Field House. It was a sunny day,
cool temperature and I just kept thinking of the General Order
that was about to be read at the end of the ceremony. I thought
I did not stand a chance against any of the other cadets that have
been here longer than I have been, but I still had hope, and most
importantly, I had faith. Time for the General Order finally came,
and when they read it out, I could not believe my ears. It was one
of the most amazing moments in my life and I just could not be
any more proud of myself. I have made my whole family proud,
retrieved my confidence and felt positive about the future ahead
of me. I stand here in front of this amazing crowd tonight, and I
am extremely thankful of what CMA has done in my life. I want
to thank Colonel Boland and LTC Armstrong for their support,
CSM Brooks for his long talks of wisdom, LTC Heflin for being
with me along every step of the way and to all, SGM Greene
and all the TAC officers that put their entire life and effort in
making sure this school graduates exemplary cadets. Thank you
for helping me turn into the young man that I have become. I am
eternally grateful to this institution. Thank you for your time and
may God bless all of you.