Senior takes a Great journey to the sky


Noelani Elizalde

Senior Great Bah in her ROTC uniform.

Deanna Hampton, Staff Writer

Senior Great Bah heads into the sky with her new found passion to fly. 

She wants to become a pilot. Having always liked being on a plane and just being in the air, she eventually decided that she should become someone who could fly their own plane. 

Great recounts feeling as if having the opportunity to fly other planes while simultaneously getting to travel around the world is a package deal that not many people have access to. 

“Just being in the sky as a whole is like a dream.  After all it’s the closest thing we can get to flying as humans. I enjoy seeing the clouds and the landscapes from up in the air, it looks really awesome to me,” Bah said.  “My dream career is to become a professional pilot. As of recently I applied and got accepted into different colleges with top flight school programs. Once I get into college I plan on working really hard to get my private pilot’s license or private pilot’s certificate.”

But this is not just a dream for Great Bah, this is a goal that she’s been working towards even now as a high schooler. She joined ROTC because it was the closest thing she could get to receiving lessons based on aviation at Merrillville High School. Then she decided to stay because not only did it aid her in her efforts but it became something she enjoyed a lot.

“It feels really good, and with me being on the advanced drill team, performing with everyone is one of the things that I really have fun doing,” Bah said. “It’s something that makes me look forward to the end of the day because after all the school stuff, and stressing out about schoolwork, I get to do something fun like drills”

Bah plans on doing ROTC in college

“It’s an amazing experience, not just with drill but also with the people there. We’re not necessarily family but we’re like a team,” Bah said. “I would love to continue building these relationships in a college based setting especially since I’m sure Drill will probably be required, so we’ll be doing it a lot more.”

Air Force ROTC instructor, SMSgt. Daniel Wrasman, has been impressed with Bah’s accomplishments.  

“First of all, Ms. Bah is an extremely intelligent student, and she was recently named as one of the top academic students in our high school.  Second, she is driven and motivated to accomplish her career and life goals” Wrasman said “To become a successful pilot, a person needs to be in complete control of their emotions.  Ms. Bah is very even keeled and does not overreact to stressful situations.  She uses her intelligence to evaluate situations and then take the necessary actions. Ms. Bah is a fantastic JROTC Cadet, and I know with the proper training she will be able to accomplish any task in her life.” 

In fact Bah had been nationally recognized and honored by the college board for scoring in the top 10 percent in the state. Ranking in the top percentage of her graduating class, It’s a high achievement for a student who moved across the globe from Belgium to America in the 7th grade.

“I did prepare for the PSAT, but to be honest not as much as you may think.” Bah said, “I wasn’t studying for it every single day, I believe the way I mainly prepared for it was by doing well in classes. By studying and working hard I ended up knowing a lot of the information that you get tested on during the PSAT,” Bah said “I don’t know if I would say that I was necessarily surprised about my score. I was just surprised that it was considered to be a really high score. I genuinely had no idea that it was good enough to receive recognition.” 

With so much success in her life you could only wonder how she views her future and what she hopes of her own capabilities. 

“I plan to major in a program that’s based on learning how to fly a plane,” Bah said. “So what I will be doing is getting lessons on aviation overall and then eventually learning how to fly a plane myself. I should be expecting to fly a plane once I’m in college at some point, which I’m really excited for.

“Once I’ve started working my way up to what I want to become, I also hope that this work ethic will continue into college so achieving my dreams is not too far out of reach.”