In front of a standing-room only crowd on the fourth floor of St. Vincent’s Hall on the Niagara University campus, seven sophomores and two juniors in military attire raised their right hands and took an oath to “protect and defend the Constitution of the United States,” promising to serve their country and officially contracting into the United States Army. Upon graduation, these cadets will become 2nd lieutenants in the U.S. Army, on reserve or active duty.

Family members, friends, and fellow cadets witnessed sophomores Zachary Ketchmark, William Mann, John Scime, Christopher Sommer, Nichole Swink, Aaron White, and Zachary Zajac, and juniors Anna Maria Romano and Indiana Jourdain as they took the first step toward becoming officers in the US Army on Sept. 27, 2019. After reciting the oath, the cadets received certificates from Lt. Col. Adam Czekanski, chair of the Department of Military Science at Niagara University. University chaplain Rev. Vincent O’Malley, C.M., delivered the opening prayer and the benediction, and Dr. Christopher Lee, associate professor of political science, was the featured speaker at the event.

“I have known from a very young age that I was born to serve others and to solve problems; hence why I embarked on a journey to become a nursing officer,” said Jourdain, a nursing major from Spring Valley, N.Y. “Being contracted in the United States Army and being a part of the one percent is truly a blessing because it is not an easy feat. As a contracted cadet, I promise to become the best version of myself physically and mentally in order to prepare to be a leader in the army and serve the people of the United States.”

Scime, a nursing major from Williamsville, N.Y., noted that “being contracted in the U.S. Army inspires me to be the best version of myself. I’m excited for my future within the U.S. Army and to serve something bigger than myself.”

“Contracting in the U.S Army means I am now part of something greater than myself,” said Mann, an Orchard Park, N.Y., native studying criminal justice. “It takes me one step closer to commissioning where I can lead and influence others. I take pride in this accomplishment as it has been a goal of mine for quite some time.”