So, she joined the school’s Air Force Junior ROTC as a way of earning a credit but also as a means of meeting people and belonging to a group.
In a matter of days, the driven 17-year-old senior memorized the ROTC’s rules and regulations and quickly rose up the ranks. Starting as a basic cadet airman, Sabrina was promoted to senior airman, then to staff sergeant, then to tech sergeant.
In addition, Sabrina became commander of her flight and is acting commander of the Color Guard. She also serves as the ROTC’s head historian and is a member of its mission support staff that organizes ROTC activities, from training days and field trips to barbecues and the Military Ball.
“I’ve never seen anything like her,” said Major Dale Weaver, who heads the Air Force Junior ROTC program. “She’s the cream of the crop; the best of all.”
Sabrina, who speaks five languages, is driven in the classroom as well. She has a 3.93 grade-point average, but also takes four online courses and is enrolled in a class at Oxnard College. She also is active in Oxnard High’s Drama Club and was a member of the school’s Geography Bowl team. On weekends she volunteers at her church and at senior centers.
Her main focus, however, is ROTC.
“I love everything about it,” Sabrina said. “I love the discipline and I embrace the codes, the rigors and the sense of camaraderie.”
Recently, Sabrina took the Armed Forces Vocational Aptitude Battery test and scored in the 97 percentile. “The recruiters’ jaws dropped,” Weaver said.
“It’s funny because I knew nothing about the military when I came to this country, but the test showed I’m perfectly suited for it,” Sabrina said.
As a result, Sabrina will attend Marshall University in West Virginia – her host mother April Tackett’s alma mater – in the fall, where she will study pharmacology and enroll in Marshall’s Army ROTC program.
By the time she graduates, Sabrina plans to be an American citizen, enabling her to launch her career in – what else? – the military as an Army officer.