Summerleigh “Summer” Geimer is warm, fun and bright, just like her name suggests, but the 17-year-old senior at Annapolis High School also has a serious side. In her Naval Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps uniform decorated with cords, numerous medals for the drill team, orienteering, leadership, Girl Scouts and more, the NJROTC company Commander commands attention.
“Leadership comes easy to me and I think my company respects the time and dedication I’ve put into the NJROTC here,” Summer said. “I take care of people and offer them advice. I’m always in the position of the mom, whatever role I’m in, whatever I’m doing.”
And Summer has a lot of roles.
Before becoming commander in her senior year and after joining Annapolis High School’s NJROTC program in her freshman year, she was appointed to staff member in her sophomore year and moved up to Executive Officer in her junior year.
“She is a very reliable and dependable student that is never afraid to take on any task, consistently volunteering for our program and fully committing to anything she is involved in,” said Master Gunnery Sergeant Lawrence Inscoe who leads the NJROTC program at Annapolis High School.
“The skill set she has is rare for someone her age,” Inscoe said. “She is very proactive and can deconflict a stressful situation while being fair.”
Commander Jack Eggleston, also a leader of Annapolis High’s NJROTC program, complimented Summer’s skill set.
“Summer is unique in that she had the rare skill of communication. She will tell you what needs to be done in a way that is firm, but not mean and she is always clear as to what she can and cannot do which shows how much of a team player she is,” Eggleston said. “She jumped into this program with both feet and is always looking for chances to be more involved. Everyone knows they can always count on her for help or a push.”
These important leadership qualities led Summer to become the youngest assistant manager at Subway where she works part-time after school adding onto her already busy schedule.
Summer’s schedule is action packed with little to no downtime. She rotates her wardrobe of uniforms from the NJROTC, varsity soccer, varsity indoor and outdoor track depending upon the season, though a multitude of her commitments, are year-round.
Before deciding to focus on her other activities she was the captain of the varsity softball team.
Summer hopes prioritizing her extracurricular activities will prompt her acceptance into her top college choices of the Naval Academy or a top ROTC program.
“The reason for my crazy schedule was to buff my college applications up, I mean I enjoy everything I do, but I really want to help people and make a difference so I needed to make sure my application stands out from the rest,” Summer said.
She already stands out as a member of the top 15 percent of her class and a soon-to-be graduate of the IB program.
Outside school walls Summer fills the little free time she has chairing the Unitarian Universalist Church of Annapolis’ Youth Group, attending various NJROTC leadership camps, donating blood every two months, participating in the Girl Scouts and in a community swim team.
She chalks her success up to two things: coffee and her mother.
“Without coffee it’s a mess of the day,” Summer said. “And my mother has never let me quit anything. I’ve been in the Girl Scouts for 13 years and played softball for 11 years because once I started them my mother wouldn’t let me quit and while it drove me crazy a few times I appreciate it now.”
Summer’s mother, Wendi Winters is a reporter for Capital Gazette Communications and mother to Summer’s three older siblings.
Summer’s oldest sibling, Winters Leigh Geimer, 26, is an adjunct instructor and simulation technician at the Naval Academy. Her brother, Phoenix Winters Geimer, 25, a 2012 Naval Academy graduate, is a Naval flight officer stationed at Whidbey Island, Washington, with his wife, Katie Geimer. Sister Montana Geimer, 22, is a Midshipman First Class at the Naval Academy.
The family includes a senior citizen Golden retriever, Velvet von Rocket, two cats named Freddie Mercury and Moonshine, and a pair of feisty rats. Their father Tod Geimer lives in Two Rivers, Wisconsin. Summer’s NJROTC leaders see the reason for success inside her.
“It’s a pleasure to work with her and over the last four years we really saw her come into her own,” Eggleston said. “Summer’s schedule is very busy, but she handles it very well and follows through on all of her commitments which I don’t think many young students her age could manage. We are proud to have her as our commander.”
Summer saw the transformation in herself and now as a senior is ready to take the next step into college.
“From being a freshman who was completely confused to being the one who helps and leads people, I think I’ve grown up a lot in high school,” Summer said. “I really just want to go on and make a difference.”