Don't tell Shaitayana Tomlin balancing dual responsibilities as a high school student and Junior ROTC sergeant major is a hefty workload.

Throw in the fact that Tomlin, a sophomore at Kenmore High School in Akron, Ohio, has had a prosthetic leg since birth, and the level of difficulty quickly escalates.

Tomlin, 16, never looked at her situation as a disadvantage. She considered physical challenges as opportunities to prove she was like everybody else.

"I feel like I can do anything else that the other Cadets can do, and for me the greater the challenge the better it feels when you accomplish something," Tomlin said. "When I am tackling something difficult, I just push the negative thoughts out of my mind and keep on charging as hard as I can to make it to the finish."

Tomlin's dedication and hard work has not gone unnoticed. She will be promoted to Cadet battalion commander next school year.

"Cadet Tomlin always leads by example and accepts all challenges head on," said retired Maj. John Jacobs, the Kenmore High School senior Army instructor. "When she sets her mind to accomplish something, there is nothing she can't do. With her work ethic and undying resiliency in the face of adversity, I think she will go really far at the next level."

The next level is exactly what Tomlin has her eyes set on as she plans to attend the University of Akron in the fall of 2015 and major in technology. Tomlin's sights don't stop there as she would like to enter the U.S. Army as a commissioned officer upon graduation from Akron.

"I am really excited to go out and start my career and proud to be able to serve my country," she said.

Page last updated Thu December 6th, 2012 at 12:07