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Kaiserslautern HS News
Kaiserslautern, Germany | May 10, 2023
Kaiserslautern High School’s AFJROTC Awards Ceremony Celebrates Success, Leadership and Selfless Service
The Air Force Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (AFJROTC) is a program offered to DoDEA high school students, designed to allow students to develop character, achievement, leadership skills, and experience diversity among their peers. At their annual awards ceremony on Monday evening, May 8th, 2023, the Kaiserslautern High School program handed out dozens of well-earned ribbons, certificates and awards to many of the programs 146 cadets. The awards included 20 National Awards provided by numerous Service Organizations that support the program. These included:
Awardees are selected by a panel that includes the program instructor, LtCol Bill Conley and his NCOIC, MSgt Donald Cruz. The program’s top cadet leadership are also involved in the decision making process. The decisions are based on the AFJROTC’s “Whole Person Concept” chart, which includes variables such as academics, fitness, community service hours, involvement in AFJROTC extracurriculars, involvement in school sports/clubs, etc.
“The evening was simply amazing! To watch the excitement of the cadets during the event is why I love what I do,” said LtCol Bill Conley, KHS AFJROTC Officer in Charge. “It was extra special to have Dr. Brahaney join us and to learn from Mr. James that our unit earned the Distinguished Unit with Merit recognition. These cadets worked tirelessly all year to earn this distinction. They all exemplify our corps motto of, “highly motived, truly dedicated, roughest, toughest GR-081 cadets.”
Along with the National Awards, six AFJROTC Awards were presented to deserving cadets. One of these, the Silver Valor Award, was presented to Cadet Lauren Gordon, for the bravery and selfless service she displayed on the afternoon of March 10th, 2023. That day, one of DoDEA’s contracted buses was in a significant accident as it transported both Kaiserslautern High School and Elementary School students home. Cadet Gordon, along with six of her classmates – Vera Bahl, Ryland Cooper, Bianca Gonzalez, Jailan Grant, Brian Muniz-Diaz, and Leo Schell – worked together to ensure that their elementary counterparts were uninjured, were able to exit the bus safely and stayed with them until they were all reunited with their families.
Dr. Michelle Howard-Brahaney was on-hand at the ceremony to express her appreciation for these brave students and to present Cadet Gordon and each of her high school classmates with a DSE certificate and command coin. “You each demonstrated incredible courage and leadership in that moment,” remarked Dr. Brahaney. “You represent what is best about military-connected students and you make DoDEA proud. We are all so proud of each and every one of you.”
The evening culminated with the KHS AFJROTC Change of Command ceremony, when Cadet Lt Col Maurnice Ahavit assumed command of the GR-081 Cadet Group.