Water. Pickling vinegar. Coffee with the grounds, two types of soda, cranberry juice, lemon juice, and finally, gravy. All of these things have their own purposes, but none of those purposes are to be mixed with each other. Mixed together, they create a concoction only the most dedicated will drink. Andrew Kollasch ‘22 is one of those dedicated.
A transfer from Elkhorn High School, Kollasch has a strong military background. Both of his parents served in the military, his father as a member of the air force and his mother as an officer in both the coast guard and the air force. Kollasch himself is a member of the youth ROTC, which is where he proved his dedication in drinking the aforementioned drink as a part of a ceremony dubbed the “grog bowl.”
“You drink it out of three shot glasses filled all the way up, and you prove that you drank all of it by lifting the glass over your head,” Kollasch said. “I would’ve been fine with it except for the gravy.”
While that may make the youth ROTC seem horrible, Kollasch does not view it in that way. In fact, he sees most of his time with the group as enjoyable.
“We meet during summer training and have weekend drills once a month. I like to do the weekend drills. We stay in barracks at Camp Ashland and do basic stuff like [physical training] and marching,” he said.
Kollasch is not alone in participating in these weekend drills. Upon joining the youth ROTC in May 2018, he was assigned to the Cornhusker division, which has about 30 members. For Kollasch, there was no preparation for what he was about to experience.
“There isn’t really an introduction,” he said. “Your first introduction is your first drill.”
The ROTC is not just something he takes part in within the state of Nebraska. Opportunities arise from within the program allowing certain members to participate in nationwide events.
“A year ago, I went down to Pensacola, Florida, to the naval station there. We did everything recruits in the Navy do. We stayed in an unused hangar and took coast guard instruction. We did security detail of the barracks, which included keeping watch overnight. Two watchman were posted all the time,” he said.
Another part of the program is creating goals for its participants, both immediate and long term.
“A goal is to stay fit. We have to pass a PRT, which is a physically readiness test, every six months,” he said. “Another goal is to rank up. If you make a certain rank and you actually do go into the navy, you can start as an E3 instead of an E1.”
Kollasch plans to join the military, so ranking up aids in his future progressions. At Mount Michael, he has discovered a class that aligns with his plans for the future.
“My favorite class is American government,” he said. “I understand what is being talked about, and I’m interested in the topics. There are really good discussions about the government.”
With the military lying as a strong possibility for his future, Kollasch plans to continue to participate within the youth ROTC in order to strengthen himself and solidify what comes after high school.
The Mount is produced by the students of Mount Michael Benedictine School.