BHS graduate Caden Grimditch earned prestigious Navy ROTC scholarship
By Dan Karpiel
It takes a special kind of person to devote themselves to military service. Berthoud High School graduate Caden Grimditch is one of those people.
Grimditch earned the prestigious Naval Reserve Officers Training Corps (ROTC) scholarship, which provides as much as $180,000 to winners to cover the full costs of tuition and fees, provides an allowance for books and other materials and provides a monthly stipend of $250-$400 for students pursing both a four-year bachelor’s degree as well as work in the ROTC program for eventual commission as a United States Naval Officer.
Grimditch will attend University of Colorado in Boulder where he will concurrently work in the university’s Navy ROTC program and pursue a course of study in environmental design, with a focus in architecture. He said choosing CU was an easy choice, saying, “I’ve always been a Buffs fan, I have a lot of family in Boulder and I love the campus. I’ve just always loved it there.” Grimditch said he did for a while consider applying to the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md., but the ROTC program at Colorado was a better fit, as he said he did want to have a more traditional university experience.
Grimditch explained the ROTC program and the field of his major are only somewhat related, thereby affording him the opportunity to follow two areas of interest. He has not made a final decision on what area of specialization he will choose for his work as a U.S. Naval Officer, however, he pointed out one of the biggest appeals of the Navy is its wide array of career opportunities.
“I really like the Navy because it’s very diverse, you can do so many different things. There’s a lot of options for what you can do,” Grimditch said. He went on to discuss a number of opportunities in the Navy have caught his eye, highlighting aviation as one of his top choices. Grimditch explained being a pilot or working on the flight deck of a ship are alluring options.
Grimditch said military service has always appealed to him, explaining how multiple members of his family have served in the armed forces and, during a visit to South Carolina for a family reunion, a visit to a Navy base in the region caught his eye. He described his father’s cousin who helped arrange the tour as “a super great guy (who) speaks very highly of the Navy. It was good to hear about it from someone who is so enthusiastic … that’s what spiked my interest.”
With his interest in military service in general, and the Navy in particular, Grimditch considered the option of enlisting but said the added benefits in terms of compensation, career advancement and leadership opportunities made going the ROTC route far more attractive. “Enlisting has never really been super appealing to me. I thought about it for a while earlier on, but I think I’m definitely more excited to graduate as an officer,” he said. Upon completing his degree and the ROTC program, Grimditch will be commissioned as an ensign, a junior officer or O-1 rank in Navy insignia verbiage.
Even though the idea of military service had been on his mind for several years, Grimditch explained he joined the Berthoud High junior ROTC program midway through his high school career. Yet, even with late start, he gained a plethora of skills, developed his leadership attributes and caught the eye of the program’s leadership.
“I was a first-year JROTC student my junior year so I came in pretty late, but I’d like to think I took it more seriously than most kids and I ended up gaining a lot from it,” Grimditch said. “I always did my best and I got to test my leadership ability. Sometimes I’m a verbal leader, but I’m more of a leader by example. I always did my best and went from the bottom of the totem pole to the leader of the JROTC in one year.”
Like many young people in town, Grimditch spoke fondly of coming of age in Berthoud, saying the town will always be home. “Berthoud is one heck of a town. It’s been a great place to grow up. People here will tell you that you can do anything; people here are always willing to give you an opportunity,” Grimditch said. “Down the road I’m not to forget where I came from. I’m not going to forget all the great people, because they taught me a lot and cared about me and I care about them too.”
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