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JROTC Hosts Award Ceremony - Recognizes Over 5,000 Hours of Community Service

 Nearly 5,000 hours of community service, dozens of prestigious awards given, and a prom-posal! Take a few minutes to learn more about the outstanding group of scholars and leaders that make up our JROTC program at Newburgh Free Academy.


Newburgh Free Academy, Junior ROTC hosted their annual award ceremony. After a color guard presentation of the flag and a rendition of the national anthem, Mr. Mike Ragusa, assistant principal of Newburgh Free Academy, Main campus began the ceremony. Teachers who dedicate their time and love to the programs are Master Sergeant Granda and Colonel Seward.


Photos of the JROTC Award ceremony – 2018.


Mr. Ragusa welcomed families and distinguished guests by announcing the fact that Newburgh Free Academy, JROTC is once again being designated as a distinguished unit by the air force. The units selected represent the of the 900 AFJROTC units worldwide. This award recognizes the personal growth and accomplishments of the cadets, and support of the school and local community. Cadet Colonel Luna, Cadet Colonel Corregan, and Cadet Lieutenant Colonel Resto received the award. Our JRTOC unit has won this award for several consecutive years.


Next, the Silver Star for Community Service with Excellence Award was presented. The top 5% of schools in the country are selected for this award, making it the most coveted award in Air Force Junior ROTC. Newburgh Free Academy is the only school in New York State and one of only three schools in the north eastern United States to achieve this honor. The Silver Star for Community Service award measures community service contributions from one April to the following April. During that time period, our NFA JROTC participated in 165 projects and donated 4849 community service hours. Cadet Colonel Luna, Cadet Colonel Corregan, and Cadet Lieutenant Colonel Resto received the award.


Several cadets contributed to this award. Cadets with the most community service hours during that time include: Cadet Corey Resto – 75 hours; Cadet Carlos Barrera – 76 hours; Cadet Michael Masopust – 77 hours; Cadet Antonio Ballesta – 86 hours; Cadet Justin Santiago – 90 hours; Cadet Esteban Speedling – 92 hours; Cadet Alexandra Gonzalez – 105 hours; Cadet Amir Ballaguer – 111 hours; Cadet Christine Woods – 131 hours; Cadet Shayna Crespo – 145 hours; Cadet James Pham – 227 hours.



Scholars recognized as ACADEMIC ACES were:


            AS1:  c/Rutaquio          97.38%

            ASII:  c/Speedling      100.33%

            ASIII:  c/Armstrong    99.86%

            ASIV:  c/Luna              98.1%



Outstanding FLIGHT:  Delta Flight.  The flight commanders this year are:


            Cadet Dellatore

            Cadet Crespo


Additional awards are as follows:


AIR FORCE ASSOCIATION: (Junior, based upon attitude, appearance initiative, judgment and self-confidence, courtesy, potential, ethics and academics – all around)

Presenter:  Asst. Principal Mike Ragusa

Recipient:  Cadet Major Marisa Hansen (Grade 11.  This is the highest individual award of the evening. Marisa was the Group Executive officer this year and will be our Group Commander next year for the first half of the year.)



DAEDALIAN: (Patriotism, service, potential for military service, academics)

Presenter:  Capt Fritz Kass, USN (Ret)

Recipient:  Cadet 1st Lt Derek Salerno (Grade 11.  This is the second highest award of the evening.  Derek was our Commander Chief Master Sergeant at the start of the year before taking over as the Drill Team Commander.  He will be the Deputy Group commander for the first half of next year before taking over as Commander.) 



AMERICAN LEGION: (Scholastics:  Based upon overall scholastic achievement)

(Military:  Based upon general military excellence – leadership, discipline, character and citizenship)


City of Newburgh – American Legion Post 152

Presenter:   Mr. William Rogers

Scholastic Excellence Recipient:   Cadet Lt Col Shayna Crespo (Grade 12.  Plans to attend NYU next year with a plan to participate in Air Force JROTC at another college.  Her major will be in the information technology field.) 


Military Award Recipient: Cadet Lt Col Corey Resto (Grade 12.  Will attend collage locally with the intent of transferring to an engineering school at a later date.)



Town of Newburgh – American Legion Post 1420

Presenter:   Mr. John Masten, Post Commander

Scholastic Excellence Recipient:  Cadet Colonel Bram Corregan (Grade 12.  Our current Group Commander and a member of the NFA football and Lacrosse teams.    Was awarded the Air Force ROTC scholarship and will attend Rochester Institute of Technology with a major in Computer Science.  Has been accepted to a program at Syracuse but is awaiting the terms of a financial package.  Will likely remain at RIT.) 



Military Award Recipient: Cadet Lt Col John Stepinski (Grade 12.  John is a squadron commander, long time member of our drill team, and an Eagle Scout.  He will attend Norwhich College and major in nursing.)



Town of New Windsor – American Legion Post 1796

Presenter:  Mr Joe Pifer, Post Commander

Scholastic Excellence Recipient:  Cadet Col Arianna Luna (Grade 12.  Arianna was our former Group Commander and a recipient of the Air Force scholarship.  Her eventual goal is to major in Environmental Science.  However, at this time her plan is not to accept the scholarship and attend a local college before applying to a 4-year institute such as RPI. 


Military Award Recipient: Cadet Lt Col Casey McKnight (Grade 12. Casey is a squadron commander, member of our Drill Team and the Captain of our Cyber Patriot Team.  She is also active in the local Civil Air Patrol unit and a long-time member of the Tuskegee Airman Youth Red Tail Youth Flying Program.  It is through that program that she is about to earn her Solo Wings – i.e. take off, fly and land the plan on her own.  It is an important step before one earns their pilots license.  Casey will be attending Embry Riddle University in Daytona Florida, which is regarded as one of the best flying schools in the nation.)  


DAUGHTERS OF THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION: (Academics, character, military discipline, leadership)

Presenter:  Ms. Carol McQuinn (Ms McQuinn did not make the ceremony)

Recipient:  Cadet Lt Col Baleigh Stark (Grade 12.  Baleigh is a squadron commander and long-time member of our competition drill team.  She will be attending college locally for the next two years before making future plans.)



UNITED STATES DAUGHTERS OF 1812 JROTC BRONZE MEDAL:  (A junior or senior who has demonstrated qualities of academic excellence, leadership, military discipline, dependability, patriotism and upright character, which exemplify the ideals upon which our nation was founded.) 

Presenter:  Ms. Carol McQuinn

Recipient: Cadet Senior Airman Nicole Villachica  (Grade 12.  This is Nicole’s first year in JROTC but she was been very involved with the Saturday “Scholars in Scrubs” program at the Newburgh Armory Unity Center.)



AMERICAN VETERANS: (Positive attitude toward AFJROTC and service in Air Force, appearance, initiative, dependability, judgment, officer potential) [No year specified.]

Presenter: Mr. Jack Versusky and Mr. Dave McTamaney

Recipient: Cadet Staff Sergeant James Pham (Grade 12.  This is James’ first year in JROTC but he as broken nearly every record for community service.  He has shown up at over 100 projects this year and has already exceeded 230 hours of service, with that number growing every week.   James is joining the United States Navy and has been accepted into their nuclear submarine program.)         


RESERVE OFFICERS ASSOCIATION: (Attitude toward AFJROTC, appearance, initiative, judgment, self-confidence, courtesy, and growth potential.)

Presenter:  Capt Fritz Kass, USN (ret) 

Recipient:  Cadet Major Jimmy Armstrong (Grade 12.  Jimmy is our Kitty Hawk Honor Society Commander this year.  He is also an Eagle Scout, a member of the rowing team and a former member of the cross country team.   Jimmy will be attending Iona College next year.)   



MILITARY ORDER OF THE WORLD WARS: (Based upon outstanding service to the AFJROTC unit.) [Must be committed to continue AFJROTC next year.]

Presenter:  Capt Fritz Kass, USN (ret), on behalf of MOWW

Recipient:   Cadet Captain Dylan Dellatore (Grade 11 and Commander of the Fight winning the “outstanding fight award.”   In JROTC, classes are referred to as “flights” and they compete against each other in sports, academics, community service, military drill, etc.  all through the year. 



MILITARY OFFICERS ASSOCIATION OF AMERICA: (Shows exceptional potential for military leadership)  

Presenter:   Capt Fritz Kass, USN (Ret)

Recipient:  Cadet 1st Lt Esteban Speedling (Grade 10 and a Flight Commander.  Esteban has kept his overall academic average over 100% this year.)



VETERANS OF FOREIGN WARS: (Participation in AFJROTC and possesses outstanding leadership characteristics.)


City of Newburgh – VFW Post 973

Presenter:  Mr. Jack Versusky and Dave McTamaney

Recipient:  Cadet Chief Master Sergeant Christine Woods (Grade 12.  A member of the Excelsior Program at the NFA North Campus.  Christine will complete the associates degree program but is uncertain of a future career in information technology.  Her future plans are still being defined.  However, she has done an amazing job for us having contributed over 130 hours of community service this year and close to that last year as well, and we know her future will be very bright.)   


Town of Newburgh – VFW Post 1161

Presenter:  Mr. Richard Lay, Post Commander

Recipient:  Cadet Major Thomas Vasquez (Grade 12. Thomas is a flight commander.)


NATIONAL SOJOURNERS: (Contributed to Americanism within the Corps and in school). 

Presenter:   Mr. Richard Lay on behalf of Lt Col Jack Moore 

Recipient:   Cadet 2nd Lt Adriana Guerriero (Grade 10 and member of our drill team.  She serves as our services officer and did a great job overseeing our military ball.) 




SONS OF THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION: (Leadership, military bearing and excellence in Aerospace studies.) 

Presenter:   Mr. Richard Lay will present for Mr. Carhart, who cannot attend.

Recipient:   Cadet 1st Lt Antonio Perez (Grade 10, a flight commander and member of our drill team. Also, a member of the NFA madrigal singers.) 



TUSKEEGEE AIRMAN (Attain B average in AS class, good academic standing, actively participating in cadet corps activities and service programs.)

Presenter:  Col Seward with Cadet Lt Col Casey McKnight


                        Recipients: Cadet Staff Sergeant Antonio Ballesta (Grade 11)

                                              Cadet 2nd Lt Jahari Blake  (Grade 10, Asst Flight Commander)



CELEBRATE FREEDOM FOUNDATION/EMBRY RIDDLE AERONAUTICAL UNIVERSITY JROTC AWARD (Awarded to a first or second year cadet who displays positive attitude, initiative, judgment, self-confidence, a courteous demeanor, growth potential, the highest personal and ethical standards and strong positive convictions.


                        Presenter:  Col Seward with Cadet Lt Col Casey McKnight

Recipients: Cadet Staff Sergeant Justin Santiago  (Grade 9, Flight Sgt with more than 100 hours of community service.)



MILITARY ORDER OF THE PURPLE HEART:  (Leadership ability, positive attitude toward AFJROTC and country, active in school and community)


 Presenter:   Mr. Rich Drago, Post Commander

Recipient:    Cadet Captain Aaron Almodovar (Grade 12 and our Athletics Officer.  Aaron will be joining the Air Force and is being invited into one of the Special Forces career fields.)




AIR FORCE SERGEANTS ASSOCIATION: (Outstanding qualities in military leadership, discipline, character and citizenship.)


Presenter:     MSgt Granda

Recipients:   Cadet 1st Lt Melanie Angel (Grade 11, Drill Team member  and a Flight Commander.  Melanie will be a leader at the Junior Cadet Leadership Challenge at New York Military Academy this summer.) 




SONS OF UNION VETERANS OF THE CIVIL WAR:  Recipient must display a high degree of patriotism and have demonstrated a high degree of academic excellence and leadership ability. 


             Presenter:  Col Seward

Recipient:   Cadet Captain Michael Masopust  (Grade 12 and our Communications Officer.  Michael has volunteered with the Cornwall Volunteer Ambulance Corps for two years.  He is currently in a course trying to get his EMT certification with the plans of making that his vocation.) 




RETIRED ENLISTED ASSOCIATION AWARD (Awarded annually, for exceptional leadership to the most outstanding AFJROTC cadet while serving in an Enlisted Rank.)


                        Presenter:   MSgt Granda

Recipients:  Cadet Technical Sergeant Amir Balaguer (Grade 10 and our Group Logistics NCO.  Amir has been averaging over 100 hours per year of community service.)



SCOTTISH RITE, NORTHERN JURISDICTION: (Encourage Americanism and participation in extracurricular activities, good citizenship and patriotism.)


Presenter:  Col Seward

Recipient:    Cadet 1st Lt Sarai Garcia  (Grade 10, Mission Support Officer and former Asst Flight Commander.  Outstanding student.) 



AIR COMMANDO ASSOCIATION AWARD:  The Air Commando Association is dedicated to continuing growth, strength, and support of American Special Operation forces through education, charity, research and historical preservation.  Presented annually to cadet that most exemplifies the attributes of Integrity, Self-Motivation, Intelligence, Self-Discipline, Perseverance, Adaptability, Maturity, Judgment, Selflessness, Leadership, Skill, Physical Fitness, and Family Strength.


            Presenter:  Capt Fritz Kass, USN (Ret)

Recipient:    Cadet Staff Christopher Restuccia (Grade 9, Kitty Hawk Honor Society NCO and member of the Drill Team.  Outsanding student.)         






Presenter: MSgt Granda





Presenter:  MSgt Granda






                        Presenter:  Col Seward


                                    Army:  Cadet Turner


                                    Navy:  Cadet Pham


                                    Air Force:  Cadet Almodovar


                                    Air Force:  Cadet Segovia


                                    Coast Guard:  Cadet Benedict


                                    Marine Corps:  Cadet Hagar         


Photos of the JROTC Award ceremony – 2018.



ATTENTION: Are your scholars or colleagues doing something great? Please contact the district Communications Team at communications@necsd.net. We’d love to visit your class or event and/or post your pictures and recap to highlight the amazing accomplishments throughout our district!

Date: 2018-06-07 04:08:56 AM


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