Clark, 1st female Air Force JROTC commander in 4 years, wins Baldwin appointment

Rick Wagner • Mar 10, 2019 at 10:30 PM

KINGSPORT — Sullivan South High School senior Caroline Clark is evaluating scholarship offers and college acceptances and has narrowed her choices to three serious contenders.

Meanwhile, she recently became the first female commander of the Air Force Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps at South in more than four years and has won appointment to the Virginia Women’s Institute for Leadership at Mary Baldwin University.

Not bad accomplishments for an 18-year-old with a 3.8 grade point average who performs lots of volunteer work but considers herself a “normal” student.

The other two schools she is considering are East Tennessee State University and Milligan College, to both of which she has been accepted. She plans to major in rehabilitative health sciences and plans to become an occupational therapist and would commit to the military only if she went into the Mary Baldwin program.

“I’ll be making a commitment decision soon,” Clark said in a recent interview.

“The main thing I’m doing is evaluating my scholarship offers,” Clark said. “It (AFJROTC) definitely is a male-dominated program.”

Asked why few females are commanders, she said it is a combination of fewer females than males in the program and not as many willing to do the work needed to attain the rank.

Clark, 18, is the daughter of Richard and Lisa Clark and has two younger siblings: Lilia and John.

The Mary Baldwin program has 55 slots for the country’s only all-female Corps of Cadets, and more than 700 people applied for the positions. ROTC training with Mary Baldwin would be through the Virginia Military Institute.

During her years at South, Clark has volunteered 704 hours at Children’s Bible Ministries Camp Ta-Pa-Win-Go and Small Miracles Therapeutic Equestrian Center. Her church is Shades of Grace, a United Methodist church in downtown Kingsport that operates a homeless ministry, and she serves on the digital arts SkillsUSA team, is a member of the National Honor Society and a member of the Health Occupations Students of America.

“I just feel like I’m the normal kid that just had all this happen to her,” Clark said. “Sometimes it’s hard to believe all the work paid off.”

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