BROOKSVILLE — Central High School's Navy Junior ROTC had an exceptional year, said Senior Naval Science Instructor retired Lt. Col. Michael P. Ralph, USMC.
"The statistics this year are off the chart," he said.
Nine cadets were elected to leadership positions in Student Government. Six cadets were elected to leadership positions in student organizations (National Honor Society president; Beta Club vice president, secretary and historian; HOSA president; and DECA treasurer).
Thirty-nine cadets are projected members of the National Honor Society. Nine cadets are captains of the school's 20 varsity athletic teams. One cadet, senior Angela Velez, was elected prom queen.
The students performed many community services this year, including marching in the Annual Brooksville Christmas Parade, hosting the annual blood drive on campus, policing their adopted highway, serving as a collection and distribution point for the annual Marine Corps Toys for Tots campaign, conducting patriotic performances throughout the community, individually serving as a Big Brothers or Big Sisters, and assisting at local medical or religious facilities.
Two cadets, juniors Stephanie Arnold and Phylicia Irons, attended the National Young Leaders Conference in Washington, D.C., this year.
Five cadets, juniors Mitchell Wisz, Stephanie Arnold, Phylicia Irons, Kathryne Shirley and Jacqueline Force, were selected to attend the American Legion Boy's/Girl's State Leadership Experience. Only four girls and four boys are selected from all of Hernando County, and all four girls selected were Central cadets.
Many seniors earned significant scholarships and honors as they prepared to graduate. Mike Ogren was selected as a National Merit Scholarship finalist. Michael Ogren and Shane Ralph received the Legion of Valor Award, which is given to only two cadets out of 8,000 cadets in Florida.
Ten cadets received the Navy/Marine Corps Four-Year NROTC Scholarship. They are Mike Ogren, Shane Ralph, Philomena Petro, Aislinn Osterhout, Chris Mondor, Brian Jackson, Blair Morris, Adam Taylor, Caroline Northup and Luke Viramontes.
Mike Ogren, Shane Ralph and Caroline Northup received the Joseph C. Gilliam Award, which is awarded to the top 15 academic scholars out of 100,000 cadets nationwide.
There were other honors. Sixteen cadets attended the Navy's first Senior Leadership Seminar at Florida A&M University. Phylicia Irons was selected to attend the Naval Academy's summer session.