SANDY HOOK – Long before the official start of any school year, cadets at MAST, the Marine Academy of Science and Technology, are hard at work, well-prepared, and performing many of the additional tasks expected of every student at MAST, where each student is also a cadet in the NJROTC program.
Senior Sarah Montanti and her team working under her in her position as the MAST NJROTC Supply Officer are one example of how much more is expected of every student at MAST than any other school, primarily because of their dual agreement with the U. S. Navy.
Cadet Mae Woolley of Red Bank stands with Cadet Delana Kirchoff of Middletown and her mom with all of her new uniforms.
The daughter of Jennifer and Luis Montanti of Aberdeen, Sarah attended Strathmore Elementary, Lloyd Road Elementary and Matawan-Aberdeen Middle schools before taking the entrance exam and achieving the academic scores necessary to become a student at MAST, one of Monmouth County’s five career academies.
Starting school this week, Sarah is well-versed in her position, having been named Supply Officer last April. Promotions and billet assignments for the upcoming school year are named in the spring of the previous school year, to allow the graduating seniors the opportunity to train their replacements. Sarah was selected for her position based on all the skills she has demonstrated working in supply since her freshman year and after successfully serving as assistant supply officer her junior year.
Cadet Kushi Patel of Sayreville ensures the cover of Cadet Erin Collins of Eatontown fits just right
“My hard work and dedication in the trailers led me to be promoted to the Supply Officer,” Sarah said, not with pride, but with a sense of accomplishment and recognition of the stringent regulations and the high standards that are set for promotions.
“We have around 275 cadets in the MAST NJROTC program each year, and they each get issued a minimum of three sets of uniforms,” says Commander Tracie Smith-Yeoman, the retired Navy officer who is the Senior Naval Science Instructor at MAST. “That is a lot of U.S. Navy property that the supply officer is responsible for ordering, storing, issuing, and tracking. We need to have someone in that position who is detail-oriented, able to manage competing priorities, is trust-worthy, and an excellent leader. Sarah certainly meets all of those requirements and we know she will excel as our supply officer this year.”
In this position, it is Sarah’s responsibility to ensure the upkeep and maintenance of all student uniforms and the trailers where all Navy supplies are stored, and to issue and order uniforms throughout the school year.
“I am responsible for overseeing the work done by those below me,” the cadet said, and noted that one of her primary jobs is to prepare the department for the Annual Military Inspection, which each NJROTC unit undergoes each year to ensure the program is being managed and executed in accordance with federal standards.
This summer, Sarah and her staff and volunteers worked at MAST for a five-day period to issue uniforms to the incoming freshmen. The work first entailed receiving all uniform items from the dry cleaners and getting them in order in the storage trailers.
Sarah then had to e-mail fellow cadets to solicit volunteers and advise them of their roles and details of their duties. She had to schedule workers to come in on each of the five days to ensure enough cadets were on duty each day.
As the incoming freshmen reported to MAST on their scheduled dates and times, Sarah and her team had to ensure each student received the complete initial issue of uniforms and that they fit correctly. Each new cadet received two pairs of trousers, two shirts, a sweater, a jacket, and shoes. They will receive additional uniforms once school starts.
“I like being the Supply Officer because I like the sense of leadership and responsibility that comes with the job,” the ambitious and hardworking senior said. “I also enjoy being able to pass on the knowledge I have gained about the trailers onto the cadets below me.”
“It isn’t all perfect,” she concedes with a laugh. “One of the only things I dislike about being Supply Officer is there is always a lot of work to be done inside and outside of school.”
Throughout the school year, Sarah’s obligations continue, with the October inspection making her particularly busy for the first month of school. After that, it is the day-to-day upkeep and maintenance and responsibility for all the NJROTC uniforms and equipment.
Both MAST and the NJROTC program are outstanding in teamwork, Sarah agrees, as she cited all the other MAST students who also came in to assist throughout the summer program. The other students are Manavi Gupta, Peter Hanna, Kyla Johnston, Jack Wietzke, Andrew Visconti, Julian Magherini, Kevin Kinsella, Jacob McCabe, Liam Levine, Sanika Karode, Kathryn Ackerman, Ananya Vuppala, Hugh Smith, Emily Gravina, Matthew King, and Angelina Vaclavik, who also worked with Sarah’s two assistants Ashely Pape and Victoria Walker who, the Supply Officer explained, assumed greater roles in assisting her have the day run smoothly and efficiently.
With graduation in June, Sarah is looking to continue her education, pursuing a degree in either chemical engineering or pharmaceutical chemistry, and she realizes that all of the leadership and time management skills she’ll use this year will help her to succeed in college and beyond.
Back row (l. to r.): Cadets Jeremy Londono of Howell, Sophia Bracken of Little Silver, Battalion Supply Officer Sarah Montanti of Aberdeen, Kushi Patel of Sayerville, and Victoria Walker of Middletown
Front row (l. to r.): Cadets Sam Puleio of Tinton Falls, Summer Sesty of Long Branch, Ava Repetti of Wall, Mary Kate Welch of Middletown, Abigail Hesterhagen of Atlantic Highlands, Katherine Martyn of Sayreville, and James Treshock of Monmouth Beach