OCS was founded in 2009 by Dr. Kenneth Hartman, educator and former U.S. Army officer. Hartman was inspired to create OCS while serving on his county’s Public Schools Board of Education, where he noticed the growing disparity between the recognition provided to students who were going college following graduation compared to the students who were choosing to serve in the Armed Services.
In 2007, while serving on the Cherry Hill Public Schools Board of Education in southern New Jersey, Hartman realized the disproportionate amount of honors being provided to the students attending college after graduation and the lack of recognition for those who were choosing to serve in the military. Two years later, Hartman would found OCS and provide the first recognition ceremony with OCS of South Jersey for high school students choosing to serve their country after graduation.
In a 2016 interview with Robin Beres of the Richmond-Times Dispatch, Hartman explained why OCS is so important to the teachers and families and communities OCS supports. For Beres, Hartman “recounted the story of a young man named Jeremy Kane who graduated from Cherry Hill East High School in 2006. After high school, Kane joined the Marine Corps Reserves on Sept. 11, 2006. His unit deployed to Iraq in 2009. He was killed in action on Jan. 20, 2010. Hartman noted that while Kane’s high school put a tribute to the fallen Marine on the school marquee and the town’s funeral procession for the hero was miles long, the thanks came too late. The tribute should be given to those who volunteer to serve before they go in harm’s way.”