When senior Ethan Howard entered Portage High School’s MCJROTC class as a freshman, he was a natural. PHS MCJROTC instructor Lt. Col. Thomas Gualandi said he saw Ethan stand out during his sophomore year as a “kind, hardworking, and dutiful” individual.
These character traits have paid off, as Ethan was recently accepted into the prestigious Naval Academy.
Ethan’s interest in the military began with his family. His father served in the U.S. Army reserve, and his brother is enlisted in the Air Force. This led to Ethan joining the MCJROTC program as a freshman with plans to enlist in the Marines upon graduation. It was Lt. Col. Gualandi who spoke with Ethan about the possibility of attending the Naval Academy as a way to move up in the ranks of the Marines.
Acceptance into the Naval Academy requires a letter from a senator or a letter from a high school instructor at an honor school. Ethan submitted letters from both U.S. Senator Todd Young of Indiana and Lt. Col. Gualandi.
Ethan has a history of success with the PHS MCJROTC program that has led to this monumental achievement. As a member of the Drill Team, Ethan has served on the armory staff and as Logistics Officer, Cadet Sergeant Major, Skills Commander for Armed Exhibition, and Color Guard Commander. Through these roles, he has learned how to maintain the group’s drill team equipment, distribute and maintain uniforms, develop exhibition routines, and lead a group of his peers.
Lt. Col. Gualandi said he had high expectations for Ethan from their first class together. This is just the third student Lt. Col. Gualandi had seen receive an acceptance into the Naval Academy.
“It’s no surprise that he’s in the position he is right now,” Gualandi said.
In addition to participating in MCJROTC, Ethan is captain of the cross country and track teams, vice president of academic affairs for Student Council, a member of the National Honor Society, and a member of the Academic Super Bowl team.
As an active member of his church as well, Ethan believes that “everything I have worked hard towards is because God paved the way for me.”
While at the Naval Academy, Ethan will study math and economics and elist with the Marines. He also wants to obtain his law degree with the goal of serving as a defense attorney, then a prosecutor, and, ultimately, a judge. A career in politics is a possibility as well.
We know that Ethan’s future is bright and full of possibilities. Congratulations, Ethan!