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Cherokee NJROTC earns 13th consecutive Distinguished Unit with Academic Honors

STAFF REPORT • Apr 29, 2019 at 10:15 PM

ROGERSVILLE — NJROTC Area Nine Manager Cmdr. Merv Dial announced last week that Cherokee High School’s NJROTC has been named a Distinguished Unit with Academic Honors for the 13th consecutive year.

This distinction is a significant accomplishment, authorizing the senior naval science instructor to nominate six eligible cadets each year to compete for U.S. Naval Academy appointments.

Distinguished Units may also nominate up to three cadets to the service academy of any branch.

The Cherokee NJROTC unit averaged around 130 cadets each semester.

The unit is a joint effort opportunity, funded by both the Hawkins County school district and the United States Navy.

The Cherokee NJROTC completed 5,580 community support hours and 1,392 school support hours for a total of 6,972 community service hours during the 2018-2019 school year.

The community service efforts were accomplished through the exceptional leadership of Commanding Officer Heather Whitt, Executive Officer Johnny Pearson, Operations Officers Emily Harris and Alonte’ Villa, and Command Master Chiefs Zachary Strauss and Gabe Stowe.

Unit graduating 21 seniors

Four cadets plan on attending a four-year college, seven have plans for a two-year college or vocational-technical school, and six have chosen careers that require them to possess a high school diploma.

Whitt has accepted a University of Memphis Presidential Preparatory Naval ROTC Scholarship valued at $180,000.

Pearson has enlisted in the Army and Strauss enlisted in the Navy.

Cadets accepted for enlistment who provide evidence of successful completion of at least three years of NJROTC are entitled to advanced promotion to pay grade E-3 upon initial enlistment in an active or reserve component of the Navy or Air Force and pay grade E-2 in the Army or Marine Corps.

Forty-two Cherokee cadets were on the A/B honor roll and thirty-four of those made the National Honors level with a GPA at or above a 3.5.

“A program that promotes patriotism”

“Cherokee’s Navy JROTC success is built on a program that promotes patriotism, a love of country, respect for the flag, and pride in the American way of life,” said Senior Naval Instructor Clyde Shumate. “Our emphasis on character development education and community service helps our cadets to function as responsible, reliable citizens of Hawkins County.”

Shumate added, “Cherokee High School NJROTC leadership ethos are personified by the Navy’s core values of Honor, Courage, and Commitment. Honor: Cadets are accountable for their professional and personal behavior and should remain mindful of the privilege given them to serve. Courage: Gives cadets the moral and mental strength to do what is right, with confidence and resolution, even in the face of temptation or adversity. Commitment: Is the day to day duty of every cadet in the Cherokee NJROTC program to join together as a team to improve the quality of their unit, their fellow classmates, and themselves.”

Changing of the guard

Cherokee NJROTC will hold its annual Awards Ceremony on May 7th, during which cadets will be awarded ribbons, medals and aiguillettes for participation in JROTC and team activities, as well as for personal academic and athletic achievement and leadership.

Prior to the event kickoff, a change of command ceremony will take place, where a new unit commander, executive officer, and other unit officers are named and take command from the current officers.

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