One of the most iconic symbols of the Corps of Cadets are the coveted senior boots. A part of every senior cadet’s uniform, these handcrafted boots are also the most expensive piece. Each year, hundreds of cadets are unable to afford purchasing their own boots. Recognizing the need for a solution to this issue, the Sam Houston Sanders Corps Center established the generous Boot Loan Program in 2003. Through the Corps Center, cadets are loaned a pair of boots for their senior year, and add their names to the rich history of cadets that have worn the same pair before them.
Naturally, after many years of wear, older boots become unserviceable and can no longer be used by the Boot Loan Program. Though their use as senior boots comes to an end, members of Parsons Mounted Cavalry’s Leather Chain are able to repurpose them and extend their useability through a number of different projects.
“It’s amazing to me to be able to give these boots a new purpose. There is so much history and tradition imbued in them, and to be able to continue using them by turning them into useful items allows us to preserve their beauty and purpose,” Jackson Ghatalia ‘23 (Company A-1) said of the opportunity.
Not only do these projects allow for the leather to be repurposed, they also allow cadets to express their creativity while developing a new skill.
“My favorite part about working on these projects is the ability to gain and develop such an amazing skill. I love learning new things, and to learn more about a skill that not many people have is quite amazing. You gain a level of respect for the amount of work that it takes to craft many everyday leather products, and gain the skills to start doing your own work and making things for yourself and others that will be cherished for years,” Jackson said.
These leather projects are just one of the many opportunities that cadets have to express themselves and learn new skills. The Corps of Cadets enables and encourages every member to discover, explore, and develop new passions.
Story by: Robin Nelson ’22