By Master Sgt. J. L. Wright Jr.
Gateway High School’s Marine Corps Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps program earned Naval Honor School distinction Sept. 11 – the first time in more than a decade.
Selection for the Naval Honor School means the school’s MCJROTC program was in the top 20 percent of the 268 programs in the United States.
This award means a lot to the program, school and the school district, according to Chief Warrant Officer Vu Tran, the Senior Marine Instructor.
“Earning this award would not be possible without [the Cadet’s] hard work and dedication or without the support of the administration and school district,” said Tran. “These young cadets and my fellow instructors, Master Sgt. Wright and Gunnery Sgt. Sterling, pour their heart and soul into this program and the local community – I am so proud of their accomplishment!”
Selection for Naval Honor School is based on several criteria from the previous school year, according to Maj. Brent Hampton, Region 2 director for MCJROTC.
“Within Region 2, we have 69 units who competed this past school year and 14 of them earned the Naval Honor School award,” he said.
Criteria evaluated includes the inspector general inspection results, number of cadets in the program, the number of community service hours, the number of public affairs events attended by cadets, the number of academic awards presented to cadets and the total dollar amount awarded for all scholarships and enlistments.
In addition, MCJROTC programs are evaluated by their performance in a variety of competitions including drill team, academics, marksmanship, and physical fitness.
Finally, MCJROTC programs who host Senior Leadership and/or Cadet Leadership summer camps and field trips supporting the growth and development of cadets are given more consideration for the award.
“It is awesome to see Marine Corps JROTC units challenging themselves to improve from year-to-year,” said Hampton. “Gateway High School Marine Corps JROTC should be proud of themselves for proving what it takes to be successful. Applying the skills gained in working long-term for this distinction, will set these cadets up for success in anything they go on to do in life. I am proud to be associated with these hard-working young women and men!”
Achieving Naval Honor School status has significant advantages – it allows the Senior Marine Instructor to nominate up to 12 cadets to each of the three service academies – U.S. Naval Academy, U.S. Military Academy at West Point, and the U.S. Air Force Academy.
These nominations are considered equal to a nomination from a U.S. representative or senator.
St. Cloud High, Harmony High, and Liberty High Army JROTC programs named Honor Units With Distinction
Three outstanding Army JROTC programs in the Osceola School District have been awarded top honors for maintaining exceptionally high standards of training and discipline, as evidenced by the results of the JROTC Program of Accreditation and Unit Report. The JROTC Programs at St. Cloud High, Harmony High and Liberty High have been named as Honor Units with Distinction for 2020-21.
The Army's JROTC Program for Assessment, or JPA, is an accreditation program developed through AdvancED. AdvancED has accredited the Leadership Education and Training curriculum, and the JPA is a four-year follow-up assessment to maintain accreditation. The JROTC Programs that undergo the JPA and meet a high standard are awarded the Honor Unit with Distinction. Nationwide, out of more than 1,750 Army JROTC programs, fewer than 10 percent of programs earn this impressive distinction.
"I am extremely proud of these JROTC instructors and schools for their continued dedication and high-quality support of our cadets as they become self-disciplined, respectful, and responsible citizens," said Superintendent Debra Pace. "The skills our students learn and practice in JROTC lead to success not only in high school but in college and adult life. Integrity and personal accountability, traits stressed in JROTC, are among skills that students will need to compete in a diverse and global workforce."