Two Elkin High School JROTC cadets have been awarded with more than $120,000 in scholarships from the U.S. Army, and were recognized along with numerous other cadets during the annual JROTC awards ceremony held Wednesday.
Grant Lloyd, this year’s battalion commander for the Elkin JROTC unit, has been awarded a four-year full ride worth $80,000 to The Citadel, while Matthew Waddell, who has served as Elkin’s training officer, is the recipient of a $47,000 scholarship to Appalachian State University where he will be a member of the ROTC unit there. Both will serve in the military following college.
JROTC senior Army instructor Maj. Roy Ferguson, who was assisted by instructors 1st Sgt. Kenneth Abrams and cadet Laken Lloyd, recognized the cadets for their many successes and honors during the school year.
He explained to those attending, which include students, parents and community members, the unit this year participated in four Raider meets, hosted one drill meet, held two middle school day presentations, gave 15 Color Guard performances for the school and community, went on two rappelling and canoeing trips to Raven Knob and hosted two blood drives where 150 units were collected.
Also, the unit was inspected by its Higher Headquarters Cadet Command from Fort Bragg, and received a 97 percent rating, which placed the local unit in the top six percent of Army JROTC programs in the five-state brigade.
For Memorial Day, the cadets will place more than 500 American flags on the gravesites of veterans in the region.
The top three fundraising performers for the year were presented with $50 gift cards. Those cadets were Drake Yarwood, Samuel Booher and Shania Casstevens.
Also honored with certificates and Sheetz gift cards were volunteers and members of the community who have assisted the JROTC in its projects including Jimmy and Pam Lloyd, Trish Long, Sam Bishop, Beth Felts, Ricky Roop, Barbara Long, Alene Brown, Wendy Wood and Serena Martin.
Raider team members were recognized for their hard work during the year, winning during Raider competitions streamers in the Humvee pull, obstacle course and physical fitness test. Nine of the cadets were presented with varsity letters, and 16 cadets were given the Raider pin for their letter.
The letters went to Maxwell Dumas, Seth Evans, Matthew Waddell, Chase Harris, Carlos Salazar, Irvin Lopez, Zeuz Narvaez, Sam Booher and Kyley Cook. Pins were given to Grant Lloyd, Tanner Sturdivant, Kendall Freeman, Said Islas, John Walker, Charles Walker, Alex Duncan, Justin Redd, Chris Davis, Jacob Hemric, Phoenix Collins, Korbin Powell, Marcus Orta, and cadet support team members Laken Lloyd and Dulce Rodriguez.
Members of the unit’s drill team, which placed second overall in the final home drill meet, were recognized. Cadets included Samuel Booher, Shania Casstevens, Grant Lloyd, Laken Lloyd, Zeuz Narvaez, Karla Romero, Esmeralda Sanchez, Marshall Simons, Charles Walker, John Walker, Drake Yarwood, Maxwell Dumas, Carlos Salazar, Missy Fuentes, Kylie Thomas, Amy Javier, Brandon Garris, Jose Anorve, Matthew Waddell, Facundo Pallotti, Austin Gibson, Korbin Powell, Kyley Cook, Mattie Coe, Andrea Payne, Chase Harris, Tevin Harris, Aaron Billings, Chris Davis, Landon Douglas, Brennon Holbrook, Giuliana Pallotti, Laken Brown, Justin Redd, Jarryn Kelly, Said Islas, Dulce Rodriguez, Tanner Sturdivant, Jordan Martin and Guadalupe Reyes.
The JROTC’s Academic Bowl team made it to the second round of the national competition this year, Ferguson said. Cadets on the team were Laken Lloyd, who was team commander, Maxwell Dumas, Matthew Waddell, Karla Romero, Missy Fuentes and Kylie Thomas.
All of the unit’s cadets were recognized for their participation in the Army 5K held in honor of the Army JROTC program’s 100th anniversary.
The unit’s Color Guard team, made up of Karla Romero, Andrea Payne, Mattie Coe and Kylie Thomas, was recognized.
SAI Leadership Award for class leaders were to Shania Casstevens, Tanner Sturdivant, Kylie Thomas, Maxwell Dumas, Amy Javier and Grant Lloyd. SAI Commitment Award went to Giuliana Pallotti and Jonathan Shillinglaw, who had 12 combined semesters in the JROTC program.
Superior cadet awards, given to the best cadet by LET level and year group, went to LET I cadets Beth Coe and Missy Fuentes; LET II cadets Tanner Sturdivant, Alex Duncan and Facundo Pallotti; LET III cadets Kyley Cook and Maxwell Dumas; and LET IV cadets Shania Casstevens and Dulce Rodriguez.
Winner of the Fourth Brigade essay contest, representing the Elkin battalion, was Landon Douglas. SAI Commendable award went to Karla Romero for improving the JROTC classroom with her artistic talents.
Ferguson went on to present the “most distinguished awards.”
Those included The Association of the U.S. Army, for exceptional service to school, country and corps of cadets, to Missy Fuentes and Tanner Sturdivant.
The National Guard Superior Cadet Award was given to Grant Lloyd, and the U.S. Army Scholar Athlete Award, for athletic ability and leadership ability, went to Karla Romero and Alexander Duncan.
The U.S. Marine Corps Scholastic Excellence Award was presented to Hardin Walker and Kylie Thomas; and the U.S. Marine Corps Outstanding Band Member went to Maxwell Dumas and Laken Lloyd.
The Scottish Rite Award is presented to a cadet in the top 25 percent of his class and has demonstrated great Americanism, explained Ferguson, as he presented the award to Grant Lloyd.
AMVETS American Veterans award was presented to Zeuz Narvaez and Kendall Freeman, for being cadets who show good character and patriotism to their school, community and country.
The Daughter of the American Revolution Award is presented to the cadet in the top 25 percent of her class and exemplified loyalty, patriotism and good character, said Ferguson. The award winners were Laken Lloyd and Karla Romero. The National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution Award was given to Laken Lloyd.
Two cadets were recognized with the Veterans of Foreign Wars award for demonstrating good achievements in JROTC and good academic achievements. Veteran Sam Bishop presented the award to Kyley Cook and Dulce Rodriguez.
The ROA Reserve Officers Association Award presented to Andrea Payne and Shania Casstevens, for showing good commitment to JROTC and further aptitude for military service, Ferguson said.
The Sons of the American Revolution Award, presented to an outstanding cadet who shows a high degree of merit with respect to leadership qualities soldierly bearing and excellence, was given to Samuel Booher and Brandon Holbrook.
The Sons of the Confederate Veterans Award was presented to Drake Yarwood. The award is given for demonstrating honor, courage and commitment.
The MOA Military Officer Association Award, given to the cadet at the top of his or her class, is physically fit and shows great leadership traits, was awarded to Grant Lloyd.
The American Legion Award was presented to Amy Javier, and is given for leadership and service to the unit, Ferguson said. The National Sojourners Award was presented to Guiliana Pallotti, and is presented to a cadet for the highest level of Americanism.
This year’s Purple Heart Award, an honor Ferguson said is one of the most coveted award and is traditionally kept for a top performer showing all the qualities of a great leader to include high academic success, physical fitness and respect among peers, was presented to Matthew Waddell.
The final presentation of the ceremony was a $1,000 scholarship given to a senior who made the best contribution to the successful blood drive by the American Red Cross. This year’s recipient was Matthew Waddell.
Wendy Byerly Wood may be reached at 336-258-4035 or on Twitter @wendywoodeditor.