Unless you followed him from his classes to his freshman platoon's uniform inspection, you might not know that Midland Valley High School sophomore Clinton Broome is in the Junior Reserve Officers' Training Corps.
Well, except for Wednesdays, when his shoes are perfectly shined and his uniform, adorned with 22 ribbons, is spotless.
The impression many students have of JROTC cadets is that they are arrogant and stuck up, Clinton says, "but once you come to know us, we're not like that at all."
Many of Clinton's closest friends are in the JROTC unit.
"They are who I would trust my life with," he said. "Overall, we're like a big family."
The JROTC family might be considered a clique at the Graniteville school, but it is a clique made up of cliques. "We co-mingle, and in ROTC, you've got your jocks, preps -- everybody," he said.
His label is the preppy jock of the JROTC crowd.
"I've never really understood cliques, though," he says.
Clinton, who joined the JROTC his freshman year, said he did so only to get out of having to take physical education classes.
The former class clown learned responsibility and, as the executive officer today, Clinton has come a long way from a student who did not take school seriously.
He is not only second in command in the JROTC he also the drill team commander and a freshman platoon commander.
He has learned leadership skills, a smart way to plan for his future, time management and all about paying attention to even the smallest details.
"After a while, I came to realize how serious the program is. It taught me to pay attention and to study. I realized high school isn't a joke. It can decide my future." Clinton said.
Although JROTC takes up a lot of his time, the teen also juggles spending time with his girlfriend, staying on the honor roll and playing soccer.
He will go to basic training for the National Guard this summer and hopes to become an intelligence analyst for the CIA.
Being in the JROTC isn't about a clique for Clinton: It's about paving a path to his future.
Send e-mail to Kendrick Brinson at Kendrick.Brinson@augustachronicle.com if you want to volunteer for the clique column.