Ahmir Scurr remembers waking up on cool April mornings when he was a young boy and going to Anzac Day dawn parade services with his family.
"I used to see the soldiers parading and I wanted to be like them," he says.
"Now I'm doing the parades with cadets and it makes me feel very proud."
Ahmir, 14, recently completed a junior cadet course in Ohakea and was promoted from lance corporal to corporal.
Throughout the course, Ahmir, who was the only representative from the Wanganui Cadet Unit, had to complete four terminals.
"I liked squad handling because it was probably the easiest terminal on the course," he says.
"Squad handling is commanding the squad. There were 41 people on the course, we got put into syndicates of nine and all had a turn at each terminal."
The other terminals were lessons on drill, on leadership and an oral presentation.
His favourite part of being a cadet is going on camps.
"Sometimes we combine camps with sea cadets and air cadets, so we get to go on boats and tramps and all that good stuff.
"Next year I'll be in year 11 and I'm going to join the military academy."
The military services academy started at Whanganui City College in 2010 and Ahmir said it would be a big step up, but it is necessary to get where he wants to go.
"I want to join the army once I leave school, but now that I'm a corporal, next will be sergeant, so I'll have to go on another course for that first," he says.
"We're going on a camp after school, I'm looking forward to that and then I'll be looking at the senior course in maybe another couple of terms."