2019 Independence AFJROTC Annual Awards Ceremony

NCO's Looking sharp for the ceremony. (Ed Berti)
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NCO’s Looking sharp for the ceremony. (Ed Berti)

The Independence High School Air Force Junior Reserve Officers Training Candidates (JROTC) celebrated their Annual Award Ceremony to honor the cadets who stood out above the rest in the brigade on campus during the 2018-2019 school year.

Cadet Thomas VonKaenel receives award. (Ed Berti)

These awards are coveted by the cadets and the Espirit de corps, a feeling of pride, fellowship, loyalty shared by the cadets clearly showed throughout the ceremony. Their sense of purpose, a community of interest, enthusiasm, and strong regard for the honor of the brigade was very apparent.

Lieutenant Colonel Jeffrey Jenkins presided over the ceremony, and there were special guests to present the awards to some of the cadets. The following are the awards given and the recipients of each award.

  • Daughters of the American Colonists Medal of Award – Cadet Ella Holmes
  • Medal for Military Excellence – American Legion Post 235 – Scottie Ferguson
  • Medal for Scholastic Excellence – American Legion Post 235- Robert Nock
  • Dandelion -The Order of Dandelions – Neyra Machado, Hector Pereyra Baez
  • Veterans of Foreign Wars – VFW Award – Kayla Ducar
  • Sons of the American Revolution – Samuel Byrd
  • Order of the Purple Heart – Hector Benavides
  • Military Officers Association – Marija Marhele
  • Non-Commissioned Officers Association – Sam Feredette
  • Tuskegee Airman Ribbon – Jourdan Mungo, Aram Lara Garcia (Swoll)
  • Air Commando Association Ribbon – David Yagdazingkkiy, Julie Tran
  • CMS Scholastic Excellence Award – Cadet Cameron McClure
  • CMS Leadership Excellence Award – Cadet Elias Nunez
  • CMS Citizenship Excellence Award – Cadet Thomas VonKaenel
  • American Legion Boys State – Samuel Bujnarowski, Gabriel Eisert
  • Honor the Warrior Scholarship Award – Emma Herra Simon
  • JROTC Certificate of Achievement for Outstanding Performance – Tatyanna Tabron, Ava Son, Alejandra Henriquez-Acevedo, Sugey Jimenez, Anastasia Ferguson, Hezekiah Jackson, Zyanne Nguyen, Kevin Vargas, Dennis Brouillard, Dillon Neal, Van SUI Par, Jorge Ventura
  • Outstanding Flight – 1st Block A Flight 1st Semester, Flight Commander – Cadet Kayla Ducar
  • Outstanding Flight – 1st Block A Flight 2nd Semester, Flight Commander – Cadet Thomas VanKaenel
  • Outstanding Cadet ROTC I – Calvin Saia, ROTC II – Jazlyn Healey, ROTC III – Theron Valentine, ROTC IV – Prescott Ferguson
  • Distinguished Unit Award, CMS Superintendent Silver Cup – Unit – NC-022

The only financial award presented in as a scholarship is provided by Honor the Warriors. This excellent organization run by founder Jerry Morris helps disabled veterans to have a sense of purpose by bringing veterans together in a goal-oriented program providing the structure needed to achieve success on a continual basis. The recipient Emma Herra-Simon received a $500 scholarship toward college or technical college training after graduation.

Hooks-Orr American Legion Post 235, Matthews, North Carolina sponsored half of the cost to send two cadets to Boys State at Catawba College for a week-long experience in civics. The cadets will be attending an intense workshop concentrating on North Carolina state government and politics. They will learn the importance and preservation of our form of government that depends upon intelligent, informed and loyal citizens in a combination with various government activities. They will also have the opportunity to participate in other recreational and social activities and events during their week-long experience.

Cadet Ella Holmes receives Daughters of American Colonists Award. (Ed Berti)
Cadet Gabriel Eisert recives an award. (Ed Berti)

Cadet receives an award. (Ed Berti)
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Ed Berti
Ed is retired and remains active as a freelance writer, local journalist and independent contractor. He is engaged in print and electronic media writing stories covering business, sports, hometown news and veteran's affairs including articles of interest to various media outlets. Ed is a graduate of Wagner College where he earned an MBA and holds a BBA from Pace University.
Ed can be reached at ed@minthilltimes.com, eberti7777@gmail.com and linkedin.com.