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North Salem Native Takes on ROTC at Notre Dame

NORTH SALEM, N.Y. -- While most college students are still in bed, North Salem’s Michael Loftus is up before dawn, doing push-ups and sit-ups and springs with a group of other students. It is all part of his ROTC training at the University of Notre Dame, where he was just named to the dean’s list with a GPA of 3.8.

“My roommate is asleep when I leave and he’s still sound asleep when I get back. Sometimes he picks his head up and then goes back to sleep,” said Loftus, who is majoring in Chemistry.

To fulfill the requirements of his full ROTC scholarship, Loftus also has to attend ROTC classes twice a week, to study military procedures. After graduation he is committed to four years of active military service, followed by four years of inactive reserve duty.

So far in his first semester at Notre Dame, Loftus has only run into one other person from North Salem, though there may be others.

“Notre Dame has about 12,000 students. That’s more than double the size of North Salem,” Loftus said. “It’s big, but compared to Ohio State it’s not that big. You see a lot of people you know and a lot you don’t know.”

A 2011 graduate of North Salem High School, Loftus felt well prepared when he arrived in South Bend.

“I was about equal with the other kids. Class sizes are bigger here. It’s more than I’m used to, and there is less participation,” Loftus said.

For North Salem seniors considering ROTC at a large university, Loftus suggests to expect a lot more work to not waste time, on the computer for example.

“Don’t be lazy at night just because you’ve been working all day,” Loftus said.

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