Students form Color Guard

Mexico High School students participating in the JROTC program at Missouri Military Academy have recently formed their own Color Guard and received promotions within the program.
Four students are involved in MHS's first Color Guard: Austin Bise, Madeline Brooks, Bradley Hutchinson and Matthew Prater. The members presented the colors in the Homecoming parade, Homecoming football game and at the Veterans Day assembly.
"Our JROTC students make their own duty rosters and raise our flag each morning in a military manner," Principal Terry Robinson said. "We have had approximately 35 students in the program since it began in 2012, and the interest level has been generally consistent."
Robinson thinks the program has been successful for several reasons: "In my observations our JTOTC students have a greater sense of pride and have another place they can belong and explore future possibilities."
He also appreciates the positive role models provided by the MMA instructors. "Our students are exposed to highly-decorated and successful retired members of our nation's armed forces as their teachers," he said. "The instructors bring invaluable life experiences and personal integrity to the classroom."
The students attend class at MMA for one hour before classes at MHS start, or from 2-3 p.m.
"We started this program because we recognized an interest at MHS in military service and a need for another niche to encourage our students," Robinson said. "The state holds us accountable for college and career readiness, and programs like this help focus students on possibilities and their levels of effort in high school.
While most JROTC students will not enter the military, Robinson thinks the program is positive for all the participants. "JROTC uses the structure, discipline and recognition system used by our nation's military to encourage students to achieve academic success," he said. "In addition, the program promotes good citizenship and strong character."
The Missouri Military Academy already had a certified program, which gave MHS students a unique opportunity. "The MMA leaders have been very professional and helpful to us in expanding our opportunities for students," Robinson said.
On Oct. 21, there were 26 promotions announced by Henry L. Suddarth, SGM, USA (Ret), senior Army instructor. Hutchinson was promoted to Sergeant First Class. Bise and Coralyn Froling were promoted to Staff Sergeant. New Sergeants are Jessica Brown, Ethan Campbell and Noah Duncan.
Corporals: Terran Bealmear, Kenneth Johnston, Jessica Ludovicy and Scott Martin.
Private First Class: Lucas Appling, Jacob Jaeger, Ethan Keller, Shea O'Rourke.
Private: Mikayla Beasley, Zackary George, Micah Gwinn, Aliyah Hull, Cassidy Hull, Quincey Jackson, Parker Koontz, Karlie Mast, John Perry, Brooke Ransom, David Rendon and Caleb Robertson.
Several students also were awarded Summer Camp Shields, Summer Camp ribbons, Adventure Training ribbons and Orienteering ribbons.
Receiving Second Awards were Brooks, Campbell, Froling and Gus Moody.
Receiving First Awards were Hutchinson, Dalton Keith, Prater and Ludovicy.
Students also were awarded marksmanship medals for their accomplishments while participating in the Civilian Marksmanship and Safety Program.
Expert Medal: Brooks, Brown, Campbell, Gwinn, Hutchinson and Dakota McGrath.
Sharpshooter Medal: Cody Brashear, George, Johnston, Moody and Prater.
Marksman Medal: Appling, Beasley, Bise, Duncan, Aliyah Hull, Cassidy Hull, Koontz, Ludovicy, Jhaydaun Manns, Martin, Mast, O'Rourke, Perry, Jackson, Ransom, Rendon, Robertson, Isaiah Stott and David Sweezor.
Four participants also received the JROTC Academic Insignia for ranking in the top ten percent of their Leadership, Education and Training class for the 2012-2013 school year: Bealmear, Duncan, Hutchinson and Scott.