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EPISD Student Spotlight: Luis Saenz, Burges High

Photo of Luis Saenz, Burges High School

(BURGES HIGH SCHOOL -- Sept. 21, 2021) — Burges senior Luis Saenz is a leader among his JROTC peers. He’s found his niche in the military training program, participating in almost all of the activities available and was even selected to be a delegate to the 2021 American Legion Texas Boys State. Luis shares his passion for JROTC and his future plans in week’s segment of the EPISD Student Spotlight.

EPISD: Tell us about some of your honors and achievements in high school  

LUIS SAENZ: My honors and achievements in high school have been going to the American Legion Boys State, being part of the staff in our JROTC program as the S-2 intelligence and security officer, proudly being the captain for the honor guard, being in the different teams that we offer in JROTC, and achieving an officer rank.

EPISD: What activities are you involved in at school? 

LS: I am involved in JROTC, color guard, honor guard, orienteering, drill team, flag detail, staff, Junior Cadet Leadership Challenge and rifle team.

EPISD: What made you want to join JROTC and what do you enjoy about it? 

LS: Seeing the cadets walking around with the uniforms, their ribbons, and all the awards that they had made me have interest in JROTC. This is my 4th and final year of JROTC, and I still love it. The teams are one of the most fun things to do in the program. After the teams, it's the leadership. It teaches you how to be punctual, respectful, responsible, and how to lead others, and, of course, all the community service things that we do are also great.  

EPISD: What was it like to participate in the 2021 Citizen Training Program for Boys State? 

LS: Participating in the 2021 Citizen Training Program for Boys State was truly an experience. I got to experience how to run a city, how to make sure its people stay happy, learned leadership skills from others as well, and many more things. Overall, it was a great experience.

EPISD: What do you do as the intelligence and security officer for Burges’ JROTC Battalion? 

LS: I am in charge of unlocking the doors for the arms room, supply room and handing everyone rifles for their practice. At the end of the day, I make sure that everything is back where it belongs and that it's locked up as well, closing and securing the Arms room, Supply room and closing the building.

EPISD: What advice would you give to freshman? 

LS: Some advice that I would give to freshman, is to be respectful, to not try to be something they are not. If you are going to be in JROTC, I got some advice as well.

  • 1: Don't call the major and 1SG/ 1st sergeant ‘Mr.’ ‘Sir’ or anything that is not major or first sergeant.
  • 2: Be respectful towards the higher-ranking cadets. If you respect them, they will respect you.
  • 3: Be respectful to the instructors.
  • 4: During class don’t use your phone. You have no idea how much it makes me angry to see cadets specially freshman in their phones while the instructors are talking.
  • 5: Enjoy JROTC. I really like and enjoy seeing the new cadets having fun and enjoying it. You get to meet new people as you participate in events. You get to make a lot of new friends. It changes you, in a good was of course. Participate a lot. If you can go to all the events, it'll be fun. Trust me. You're going to like it. I did.

EPID: How are you preparing for college? 

LS: The way that I am preparing for college is by having college classes. I'm taking classes at EPCC, so I'm getting the experience of being in a college class in my high school years. I also take a College Prep class which teaches us about universities, and we apply to different colleges as well. So far, I've applied to NMSU, UTEP, and EPCC. It is really helping me with getting ready for college.

EPISD: Where do you plan to go to college and what do you plan to major in? 

LS: The colleges that I have planned on going to are or UTEP or NMSU. UTEP since they have an ROTC program. From there, I can get scholarships too. I would like to major in Engineering, so NMSU for the engineering careers and programs that they have.

Interview by Reneé de Santos