ONE out of three and one in 27 years is a massive accomplishment.

Cadet Sergeant, Gabrielle Bonnici has achieved this by completing a Summer Cadet Warrant Officers course, and was presented with a gold commendation for her efforts.

The Kurnai College student is the first female to ever receive this honour within the Australian Air Force Cadets program.

“I heard my name presented on the graduation parade, in front of all of the parents and families, and I was like, ‘me?’ It was just a bit of a surprise,” she said.

“It’s the modern version of a promotion course, so personal development and leadership courses, and I went for the rank of cadet warrant officer, which is really intense. It pushed people to the limit, especially with the time frame we had with the new program.”

Gabrielle, who is in Year 12, told the Express the program has helped her in many ways, and is helping her get closer to her dream.

“It’s not about changing you to an Air Force or Defence Force member, it’s trying to change you to be a better person for the rest of your life,” she said.

“With cadets, it is completely amazing. It gave me purpose in what I wanted to do with my life because I just looked at what I was doing before I started cadets. After all, before, I was a ‘ratbag’.

“When I came into the system, there was more than I ever thought that we did. We fly planes and all that like people expect us to do, but we learn survival, we learn how to shoot, we learn how to load guns, and we learn heaps of intense stuff. It’s really fun if you want to get your hands dirty.”

The program runs every Friday afternoon in Morwell. The program is also an alternative learning style for some subjects where students might have failed in a classroom but excelled during their time as cadets. Gabrielle told the Express that subject for her was physics, but air cadets and learning about aviation in the way that flight works helped her a lot with that subject.

According to Gabrielle, the opportunity to enter the cadet program starts in Year 7, and you can stay until you are in Year 12.

After completing the time as cadets, there is an opportunity to reapply to be a part of the system as a staff member.

All schools around the area are able to take on this opportunity.

The cadet program is also not always about being super serious, as Gabrielle explained.

“We have also been trained on when to be serious and relax to have some fun,” she said.

“So, in classrooms, it won’t be like your average teacher going and talking to a whiteboard. It’s us actually getting you involved and having fun, having a bit of competition with each other. The only time we are serious will be with our serious stuff like parades or, for example, when we have to get it done in a certain amount of order and respect frame.”