Meet one of our YORKS cap-badged Army Cadets – RSM Ashanti Mai.
She’s a teenager who arrived in Yorkshire from the Philippines speaking scarcely a word of English six years ago has been appointed to the highest rank it is possible for an Army cadet to achieve – Regimental Sergeant Major of her county.
The role means 18-year-old Staff Cadet Ashanti Mai Holden is now responsible for leading all the cadets within Yorkshire (North and West) Army Cadet Force, commanding as many as 400 cadets at any one time during county parades.
The rank of County Cadet Regimental Sergeant Major is the pinnacle of any cadet career, very few cadets show the leadership skills and attain the qualifications they need to take up the position, including the prestigious Master Cadet Award.
The fact that Ashanti Mai has achieved the role is all the more remarkable because she has only been in the UK since 2016 when her British stepfather took up a position in the country. Before that she had been brought up in the Philippines speaking the native Tagalog language.
“My older brother was in the cadets and loved it so I thought I’d join too,” said Ashanti Mai, who is in the Northallerton detachment of Yorkshire (North and West) Army Cadet Force.
“Back then there were so many new things to get used to – a new home, a new school, new friends. But the cadets gave me a community and helped me find my place in my new country.
“I’ve absolutely loved all the opportunities the cadets has given to me and I’ve made the most of every single one. I’ve loved all the challenges from raising money for charity to climbing mountains and even playing rugby which is quite something for a four foot nine girl.”
Commandant Fred Owen said: “Ashanti Mai is a fine example of what young people can achieve when they put their mind to it and she has truly risen to the very highest pinnacle for a cadet.”