Eleven members of the Mexico High School Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps were recognized Thursday afternoon during a special awards assembly. The awards recognized those meeting all of the requirements of the JROTC Summer Camp, held at the Missouri Military Academy earlier this year. Each cadet recognized received special military bars and medals for their accomplishments.
MHS Principal Dr. Terry Robinson – a former Army man who was instrumental in getting the JROTC program organized at the high school – opened the ceremony. MMA Cadet Eoghan Matthews presented the awards, and MMA Army Instructors 1SGTs Alan Hakes and Randy Jacobson were present, offering the cadets congratulatory handshakes after receiving their awards.
This is the first JROTC awards assembly held at MHS since the program was established last year. The young corps started with 18 cadets and has since grown to 44 members, with both male and female participants. Membership into the four-year-program is opened to freshman and sophomore students.
"The purpose of the JROTC program," Hakes told the audience of MHS students, staff and student parents, "is to make people better citizens, more responsible and more respectful."
The following cadets received the JCLC Summer Camp Shield, the Summer Camp Ribbon, the Adventure Training Ribbon and the Orienteering ribbon: Cadets Austin Bise, Madeline Brooks, Ethan Campbell, Coralyn Fooling, Michael Markwell and Gus Moody.
Cadets earning the expert medals in marksmanship: Cadets David Bentley, Austin Bise, Shea O'Rourke, Matthew Prater, Sierra Westphal and Cadet Campbell.
Cadets earning the sharp shooter in marksmanship were: Cadets Jessica Brown, Jessica Ludovicy, Brashear and Wagner.
Under the provisions of Cadet Command Regulation 145-2, having demonstrated their leadership capability and their willingness to accept positions of higher authority, the following cadets were promoted to the rank indicated:
Corporal: Austin Bise, Madeline Brooks and Bradley Hutchinson.
Private First Class: Amber Allison, David Bentley, Monteshia Burton, Ethan Campbell and Caroline Froling.
Private: Lucas Appling, Austin Atterberry, Terran Bealmear, Jessica Brown, Cody Brashear, Storme Burkemper, Marion Gerber, Ryan Hall, Jacob Jaeger, Trent Jefferies, Kenneth Johnston, Dalton Keith, Ethan Keller, Garrett Kilgore, Dominick Littrell, Jessica Ludovicy, Jhaydaun Manns, Michael Marks, Scott Martin, Dakota McGrath, Melissa Mitchell, Brent Nelson, Marcus Nowlin, Shea O'Rourke, Aidan Palmero, Seth Payne, Matthew Prater, David Rendon, Demetrick Rhodes, Nathan Strange, Charles Wagner, Sierra Westphal and Jacob Whitehead.
Following the presentations, cadet Ethan Campbell was asked to give his impression of the corps and what it means to be a member.
"The program will help us achieve greatness in the future, and it looks good on any job and college application," Campbell said. After high school, he said, if a cadet should consider entering the military, by being a member of JROTC in high school, the cadet would be bumped up two pay grades to a private first class, make a better leader and be a more confident person. "We are the future of this program, and we need you guys to help us build."
Having the chance to meet new challenges, be fit, and make lasting friendships is what Campbell said he enjoys the most. He invites other fellow students to take the challenge.
Following the program, fellow cadet Madeline Brooks shared Campbell's sentiments. During summer camp, she earned the company commander title for her outgoing nature and leadership abilities.
Brooks' grandfather was in the National Guard and her uncle was a navyman. Her desire is to enter the medical corps.
"The JROTC program gives students good structure and helps with leadership skills and is pretty intense," Brooks said. She too invites her fellow students to get involved.
JROTC students are required to be in uniform while attending their course, plus do a variance of activities such as drill and ceremony, maps and land navigation, CPR training, life skills, study habits, personal hygiene and community service. The benefits of being involved include the chance for a 100 percent educational scholarship, and entry into the Armed Forces with an automatic promotion of two pay grades.
"It's a program that makes you push yourself and we are very proud of this group, and appreciative of MMA for what they have done for our program," Robinson said. He said implementing JROTC into the curriculum at Mexico HIgh school is another positive outlet for young area students.
For more information, contact the high school or Robinson at 581-4296.