Mistakes are inevitable, and the true test of grit is how well you recover and get back on track.

That’s one of the key lessons Cadet Colleen Pramenko will take with her as she finishes her four years in the Virginia Tech Corps of Cadets.

“Nothing works out perfectly,” she said. “I’ve learned that it is important to recover quickly and to have the mental toughness to keep pressing forward.”

Pramenko, the spring regimental commander for the Virginia Tech Corps of Cadets, the highest position a cadet can hold, will march the regiment onto the Drillfield one last time on May 4 for the corps’ annual Change of Command Parade.

The event begins at 10 a.m. and will honor cadets in the corps’ senior class as they turn command over to the class of 2020.

“I am a more resilient person because of the lessons I’ve learned from my time as a cadet. I will be able to approach challenges with a level head,” Pramenko said. “I have also realized that life is about the relationships you make with other people. If we care about each other and do the best job we can, then our team is unstoppable.”

Pramenko will pass command to Cadet Justin Clipson, a junior in Air Force ROTC who is double majoring in Russian and international studies, both in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences. Clipson is the regimental sergeant major on Pramenko’s team. It’s the highest position a junior cadet can hold.

Pramenko plans to graduate in May 2020 with a degree in meteorology from the College of Natural Resources and Environment and a minor in leadership studies from the corps’ Rice Center for Leader Development. She will then commission into the U.S. Air Force as a weather officer.

At the pass in review, the Highty-Tighties will play, and Skipper, the corps cannon, will be fired three times: when the cadets reach the Drillfield, at the first note of the national anthem, and the first note of “Tech Triumph.”

The event is open to the public.

Free parking is available around the Drillfield and no visitor’s pass is necessary on weekends. Parking is also available in the Perry Street Lots and the Perry Street Parking Garage near Prices Fork Road.

Written by Shay Barnhart