Huntsville, Texas has been graduating some amazing students from the Huntsville Independent School District. We should be proud of what our community has to offer our students. There are some amazing graduates currently serving in the Aggie Corps of Cadets. There are eleven Huntsville High Students in the Aggie Corps Cadets program at A&M University, right now. Becoming a part of the program is very challenging. Once the exemplary Cadets are excepted, they are expected to meet the rigorous challenges of being a cadet. This program is exceptional because it requires cadets to maintain a high grade point average and provides them with the living arrangements to focus on their studies. The students who participate lead a fulfilling college life and ultimately accomplish some amazing things at A&M. They will also go on to even more substantial accomplishments in their lives. I interviewed 3 students who graduated from Huntsville High School and are currently in the Aggie Corps of Cadets. They shared what they have learned, how they were able to become Cadets and they gave advice to other students who want to achieve their dreams.
Matt Little is currently a Senior and Head Drum Major in the Aggie Band. Thomas C. Morris is a Junior and the Infantry Band Sergeant Major in the Aggie Band. Randy Goodson is a Junior and a Training Sergeant in the Aggie Band. Matt Little, Thomas C. Morris and Randy Goodson had a lot to share. They are remarkable men. People who reside in the community of Huntsville, Texas should be very proud of them all!
Aggie Corps Cadet applicants must prepare and apply for the Corps in High School. I wanted to know why these young men had the goal of becoming Aggie Corps Cadets.
Matt Little responded by saying, “To be in the Aggie Band, you had to be in the Corps of Cadets at Texas A&M. Being a part of the Aggie Band is something I had been interested in since I saw them perform at Aggie football games when I was in high school. I also chose to apply to the Corps of Cadets because of its record of excellence and discipline that it instills in those apart of it. ”
Mr. Morris told me, “I decided to join the corps of cadets for many reasons not the least of which is my lifelong admiration of Texas A&M as a higher learning institution. Since I was a young child I knew that I wanted to serve in the United States Marine Corps and so naturally A&M’s cadet corps drew me in. Additionally my experiences in the Huntsville High School Military Marching Band introduced me to the Fightin’ Texas Aggie Band which immediately instilled in me a desire to join the organization.”
Mr. Goodson had a different reason, “I chose the Corps of Cadets because I didn’t want to be just another college student. If I wanted to just gain a degree, I could do so at any college. Although I debated for a time whether or not I would actually join, I knew in the end I would find my place here, in the heart of Aggieland.”
How did their time at Huntsville High School help them get accepted into the Aggie Corps of Cadets?
Matt Little shared, “Joining the Corps of Cadets is not difficult as long as you are accepted into the university. The Corps of Cadets will take anyone interested in the organization, no matter what degree of fitness or physical ability you possess, and make you work until you meet the Corps’ standards. To get accepted to the university, however, Huntsville High School’s faculty and staff helped me with my application to Texas A&M so that I could accomplish my goals. ”
Thomas C. Morris thinks that, “Living in Huntsville I was blessed with the opportunity to meet and befriend a wide range of people from every imaginable walk of life. I learned how to succeed in almost any group and how to work with all types of people. Huntsville’s wonderful diversity has made it possible for me to join and succeed in an internationally known and far reaching organization such as the Texas A&M Corps of Cadets.”
Randy Goodson remembered, “My time spent at Huntsville High School was an interesting experience to say the least. There were many excellent teachers and faculty members who helped me reach my goal of joining the Corps. Some might find the small size of the school to be somewhat unfavorable, but I found that it really allowed for a more personable relationship between student and educator, something you can’t gain in larger schools.”
All 3 Cadets shared someone in their lives who encouraged them to apply to A&M and join the Corps of Cadets.
Matt Little: “Nick Luggerio, who was my band director when I was at the high school, had a profound impact on my decision to apply to Texas A&M University and join the Aggie Band. He always encouraged me to apply to whatever university would help me accomplish what I wanted to do. It just so happened that I wanted to apply to the same university that he attended while he was a college student. Luggerio was also in the Aggie Band and his amazing stories and experiences made me interested in the Aggie Band.”
Thomas C. Morris: “There were three people who really inspired and pushed me towards A&M. The first was my father who raised me to be a lifelong aggie fan and to respect the traditional values it stands for. Second my youth pastor, Scott Williams class of 88′ actually first brought me to A&M so that I could experience the massive campus and told me of the traditions from a normal student’s perspective. Finally Nick Luggerio class of 92′ and former director of fine arts in Huntsville ISD taught me about the Corps and the Aggie band by introducing me personally to current students and Bandsmen.”
Randy Goodson: “There were many different individuals who helped me get to where I am today, but most notably that of Nick Luggerio. Class of ’92, Drum Major of the Fightin’ Texas Aggie Band, Nick has been consistently a fine example of an excellent leader, and has provided me with great mentorship, and essentially paved the way for me to join the Aggie Band/Corps of Cadets. I know for a fact that without Nick, I would not be who I am today, and attribute much of my success to him. My parents, however, never receive the proper recognition either. They have been more than a blessing, and I could not have asked for a better set of people to have guided me for so long.”
Tell me about the exceptional experiences you have had, while in the Aggie Corps.
Matt LIttle. “There are some experiences that I will never forget from my time in the Aggie Band. One of my first amazing experiences was the first time I marched a half-time drill on Kyle Field. I love getting up every morning and having drill from 0700 to roughly 0830 six days a week and then getting to go to a Fightin’ Texas Aggie Football game and perform a half-time drill there. I’ve been fortunate enough to get to travel by private plane with the band to Auburn, Alabama, Memphis, Tennessee and Nashville, Tennessee. We’ve also traveled by bus to Baton Rouge, Louisiana, Arlington, Texas and Houston, Texas. I was recently named next years’ Head Drum Major for the Aggie Band and at Final Review on May 7th, I had the opportunity to lead the band for the first time. Next year I will be in charge of all of our practices and performances, which is very humbling and exciting.”
Thomas C. Morris. “I have been privileged to be part of many incredible things since i joined the corps. I routinely get to meet prospective students and show them the campus as a member of the darling recruiting company, I work with active duty marines on a daily basis learning from their operational and leadership experience, I was granted the honor of carrying my units colors as a company guidon for this past year and I have marched all over the country in inaugural parades and countless hafltimes with the Aggie band. Next year I have been granted the opportunity to serve as the Sergeant Major for one of the two battalions of the Aggie band.”
Randy Goodson. “Each year in the Corps brings a new set of challenges and opportunities to grow as a leader and character. Ending my second year, I have found that putting others before myself has, in turn, allowed me to emotionally understand why the Aggie Network exists, and the importance of forming lifelong bonds that will last long after I have completed my time here in the Corps.”
How has participating in the Aggie Corps helped you know what you would like to accomplish in the future?
Matt Little told me: “My experiences in the Corps have not exactly helped me figure out what I want to do with my life. If anything, it has allowed me to meet several hundreds of people so that I can pick their brains about their future careers or current careers, depending on what stage of life they are in. I am still not certain about what I will do after college, but the Corps has given me numerous and priceless opportunities to meet others to grow a better understanding of the options I have going forward from college.”
Thomas C. Morris lists the benefits. “Being inundated with a military culture and firsthand learning from some of our nations greatest leaders has only bolstered my desire to serve as an Officer in the United States Marine Corps. The intense pride, elite nature and esprit du corps is unmatched and having worked beside marines since my first moments as a cadet I can truly say it is the premiere fighting force of the modern world, one which I hope to be able to serve in the future.”
Randy Goodson comisserates, “I don’t think I’ll ever stop questioning what I want to do when I grow up, because 19 years later I’m still doing that. But the Corps has allowed me to realize that I am able to overcome any feat with the right group of people backing me, and with enough mental fortitude. No mountain is too tall enough to climb.”
Matt, Thomas and Randy all explained how they have benefited individually by participating in the Aggie Corps of Cadet program.
Matt Little stated, “Being in the Corps of Cadets and the Aggie Band, I have been able to meet so many people and build relationships with them. I have met some amazing friends that I hope I will remain close to for the rest of my life. The Corps of Cadets also builds inside you a sense of belonging and pride that is hard to find in a lot of other organizations. It teaches you to persevere, work relentlessly, how to manage on little amounts of sleep, to keep pushing when you think you can’t anymore, and how to care for those around you more than you thought you could.”
Thomas C. Morris thinks, ” While I’ve never been shy the corps has given me self confidence in every facet of my life, I have grown physically stronger, more mentally acute, and become a far greater leader because of the daily practical nature of being a member of the aggie corps. At age twenty I now have direct operational jurisdiction of over 200 people and I don’t know of many other organizations which gave nearly as much practical experience.”
Randy laughs, “It’s funny, because while I’m being challenged through balancing academics, band and corps activities, and also trying to manage have a social life, I don’t notice that I am growing. I get to the end of a semester and reflect on how far I’ve come and how different I am as a person. I never expected to be able to do the things that I’m doing, and I thank the Corps for allowing me the opportunity for growth every day. ”
With fervent enthusiam all 3 men would highly recommend this experience to others!
Matt Little: “I would recommend this experience to those that are looking for a challenge. The Corps of Cadets is extremely difficult and when you add the Aggie Band on top of that, it becomes something totally different. However, with that being said, I would not trade my experiences for any other college experience out there.”
Thomas C. Morris: “I would absolutely suggest the corps to anyone. In shape or not, military motivated or not, the corps can mold anyone into a world class leader among their peers.”
Randy emphatically stated: “Absolutely. If a guy like me can do it, anyone can!”
What advice would you give to any incoming Cadets?
Matt Little, “To those interested in the Corps or the Aggie Band, there is a way to get an inside look at what we’re all about through what’s called Spend the Night With the Corps where you do just that. You will be given a tour of campus and get to spend the night with the unit of your choice. To those entering into the Corps of Cadets, start exercising now. Start improving your running and push-up abilities, which is what most cadets struggle with. Other than that, prepare yourself for four years you will never forget and never regret.”
Thomas C. Morris, ” My advice to an incoming freshman in the corps of cadets would be to first and foremost be willing to step out of your comfort zone and secondly to apply yourself 100% to every action you take. The corps can easily teach you what to say, condition you physically and show you how to move but what is much harder to teach is effort and dedication. A willingness to work hard and a willingness to potentially fail and learn from said failure are the keys to succeeding in this organization.”
Randy Goodson, “Never give up on yourself. It doesn’t matter how small the task or feat may be, if at the end of the day you can look at yourself in the mirror and like the person you are and have become, the rest will fall into place.”