Class of the corps

Kelsey Barrett name prov­ince’s top army cadet

The Compass - - FRONT PAGE - BYMIKA REKAI

The for­est green fab­ric of Kelsey Barrett’s cadet uni­form is barely vis­i­ble un­der­neath her col­lec­tion of badges and medals. When she speaks, her ca­sual hand ges­tures un­know­ingly con­duct the clink­ing of mil­i­tary dec­o­ra­tions.

The ex­tra hard­ware doesn’t seem to bother the Spa­niard’s Bay teen. Each dec­o­ra­tion rep­re­sents hours of hard work and ded­i­ca­tion.

Since join­ing the cadets when she was 12, Barrett has ex­celled in al­most ev­ery as­pect of the pro­gram.

The Chief War­rant Of­fi­cer in the 2372 Avalon North Army Cadet Corps has won ma­jor awards for first-aid, shoot­ing and out­door sur­vival. She par­tic­i­pated in sum­mer train­ing camps in New Brunswick, and gone on win­ter ex­pe­di­tions in Labrador.

She has trav­elled to Ger­many and Nepal on cadet ex­changes. Her ex­pe­ri­ences range from com­pet­ing in the na­tional cadet biathlon cham­pi­onships in Que­bec to climb­ing to base camp at Mount Ever­est, the world’s high­est moun­tain.

On May 31, Barrett re­ceived her most pres­ti­gious award yet — the Out­stand­ing Cadet Award. This tro­phy is pre­sented an­nu­ally to the top army cadet in New­found­land and Labrador by the League of Canada.

Army

An im­pres­sive legacy

Cadet

Kelsey is not the first Barrett woman to achieve great things with the corps.

When asked what mo­ti­vated her to reach such high achieve­ments within the cadets, she laughs.

“I just wanted to beat my sis­ter,” she ad­mits. “She won a lot of awards when she did cadets, so I knew I could do it too.”

Wendy Barrett, who is six years older than Kelsey, left be­hind an im­pres­sive legacy for her sis­ter to chal­lenge. Dur­ing her time with the cadets, Wendy also ex­celled in firstaid and biathlon, and went on ex­change to Costa Rica and the Rocky Moun­tains.

Wendy is now an of­fi­cer, serv­ing work­ing along­side Mar­i­lyn Barrett, Kelsey and Wendy’s mother, who has been an of­fi­cer with the corps for 10 years.

The Barrett fam­ily has de­voted an en­tire wall in their liv­ing room to dis­play­ing their cadet awards. Sur­rounded by so many of her sis­ter’s ac­co­lades, it is no sur­prise that sib­ling ri­valry pro­pelled Kelsey to such high achieve­ments.

“My sis­ter never got Out­stand­ing Cadet, so that feels good,” Kelsey says. “But she got the first-aid award three years in a row, and I re­ally wanted to beat that, but I only got it two years in a row.”

When asked about her sis­ter’s out­stand­ing cadet award, Wendy ad­mits that she is both proud and a lit­tle an­noyed.

“But mostly proud,” she says.

Pass­ing it on

De­spite her many achieve­ments in cadets, Kelsey says she has no in­ter­est in join­ing the Cana­dian Forces. In­stead, she plans on at­tend­ing the Car­bon­ear cam­pus of the Col­lege of the North At­lantic in the fall. She also has plans to be­come an civil­ian of­fi­cer with the cadets af­ter she fin­ishes the pro­gram next year.

“I def­i­nitely want to help other peo­ple,” she says. “If I can do all this, any­one can.”

Kelsey says ev­ery one of her awards were a re­sult of hard work.

“It’s not about tal­ent, you’ve just got to be se­ri­ous, that’s all.”

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