ALBANY, GA (WALB) - Albany State University's Army ROTC leaders compared Thursday afternoon to draft day for cadets.
Each of them signed a contract with the US Army to serve once they graduate from Albany State.
And for all 11 being honored, becoming a contracted cadet is only the first step.
"I'm getting myself ready to become an officer, to lead other people," said sophomore Timethy Brinson. "Therefore it's just 10 times more hard work."
Each of the newly contracted cadets passed Monday's physical fitness test, but it's not over.
They will be tested every month until graduation to ensure they maintain the requirements outlined in their contracts.
"It's a lot of pressure, but like we said earlier with the 10 other individuals and other MSIII's in the program we all lean on each other a little bit," said fellow contracted cadet Bruce Colvin."
11 is the largest class in recent history to be contracted. And they have worked as a unit to achieve this moment.
Major Thomas Smith has led them along the way and is proud the bunch has made it this far.
"It's a lot of physical training, and classroom, not just all about physical but classroom as well," said Major Smith. "You have to be able to speak, work well with others in team-building events and things of that nature."
Next up is the 30-day cadet summer training at Fort Knox along with cadets from more than 200 university programs.
Colvin is a graduate student and has been to Fort Knox before. He's looking forward to the challenge.
"It's 30 days of heat, 30 days of rain, but it's overall a great experience," said Colvin. "You meet great people, some of whom I still communicate with on a daily basis."
The summer trip will be a first for Brinson.
"I've heard it's intense, but I feel like this ROTC program has really prepared me for that, so I'm ready."
When each of those cadets walks the stage and achieves their diplomas, they will also receive the title of Second Lieutenant in the US Army.