HARLINGEN — Rene Rodriguez Ehrli is a five-year cadet.
That means he’s been at Marine Military Academy since he was just a 13-year-old eighth grader.
Today, the 19-year-old senior and native of Mexico City is cadet captain of Delta Company — in charge of overseeing and inspiring 44 other cadets.
If that isn’t enough, he speaks five different languages, including German and Chinese. And, academically, he is ranked in the top five of his class.
Rene’s first experience with MMA came after he finished sixth grade and he attended the MMA summer camp. He says he liked it “a lot” and when he returned to Mexico City for seventh grade, his parents began to notice he had developed more discipline and his grades improved.
So, they decided to send him to the academy, beginning in the eighth grade.
He knew from the start that he wanted to rise to the top of the ranks.
“I started prepping ever since I came as an eighth grader,” he said.
“How to work hard, have good academics, and once they trusted me in my discipline and organization, I started to teach other people.
“So I pretty much worked myself up through every single rank. I was very good at everything, so they trusted me with higher leadership positions.”
His role as a cadet captain includes teaching his staff leadership skills, “and helping them out to help them solve situations that arise and help them improve so they can help others.”
His love of languages comes from his father, who also speaks many languages. He has family in Germany, so he studied German. But he also studied English and French.
For the past three years, he has been studying Chinese at MMA.
After he graduates, he intends to study business in either Barcelona or Madrid and then eventually take over his parent’s travel agency.
But he also wants to own other businesses.
He encourages other youths to study hard.
“They should really focus from the very beginning, since they first start high school. They need to really focus on their grades,” he said.
“Because colleges look at every single year. They want to see your attitude. So it’s really good to maintain a positive attitude.”
Rene also recommends MMA to other students.
“The life experience that you get, you get to deal with stuff that other people don’t really get to experience until later in life,” Rene said.
“You get to be put in charge of other people, and usually people don’t have to worry about anything but themselves.
“So just that simple thing of being in charge of other people helps you develop patience and how to figure out different ways of accomplishing something.”