Education Celebrations column: Junior ROTC unit receives top award

By Diane Boyett
May 25, 2014 at 12:25 a.m.

Here are a few headlines you may have missed lately as we celebrate across Victoria Independent School District:•  VISD Air Force junior ROTC unit receives commendation: VISD unit TX-956 has earned the Distinguished Unit Award for this school year. There is only one higher award presented to any Air Force junior ROTC unit, the Distinguished Unit with Merit Award. The cadets earned that top honor last school year. The back-to-back high-level awards are a first for TX-956. Retired Master Sgt. John H. Miller said: "These awards are in recognition of all the dedication, hard work and focus that each AFJROTC cadet brings to the unit. Our cadets (all VISD high school students) this year alone have amassed over 2,000 community service hours, taking part in such events as H-E-B Feast of Sharing, over 50 color guard (presenting the flags) events, marching in parades, helping with the Veterans Day dinner at Golden Corral for all military service members and working at the Warrior's Weekend Field of Honor, preparing the flags and helping to post over 2,800 flags."

•  VISD school board honors 13 senior members of district leadership team: Victoria ISD is one of the school districts in the nation that pioneered the concept of putting students on the district level leadership team that is charged with strategic planning for the future. At the May 15 meeting, the board of trustees recognized the service of 13 high school seniors who are members of the VISD district leadership team. Some of the students have served on the team since they were in seventh grade, and the student leadership component of strategic planning first began in VISD. Students honored include six-year veterans Annalicia Aguilar, Robert Cain, Albert Chen, Bethany Garza, Juan Gongora Jr., Tara King, Jourdyn Montgomery, Heather Pawlik and David Vu. Four-year veterans include Chase Bennett, Kate Klimist, Charlsa Matson and Rachel Mansker. In addition to attending the planning sessions, the students serve in leadership roles on their campuses and spread their knowledge and skills of student leadership and continuous improvement to other students across VISD.

•  End-of-year activities create support for American Cancer Society: Several Victoria ISD elementary campuses have been staging their own version of Relay for Life, which celebrates cancer survivors and helps to raise funds that support local cancer patients and their families. The campuses have raised thousands of dollars by hosting the Relay Recess events. Students and community members join in the walk, raise money through pledges and sell luminaries in support of the concept of helping battle the disease.

•  Victoria West High School sophomore selected for elite summer program: Kevin Clark has been accepted to the University of Pennsylvania Chemistry Research program. This prestigious summer program is led by faculty of Penn's Department of Chemistry and gives participants hands-on experiences with cutting-edge research projects such as synthesis and characterization of new compounds and materials, chemistry of life processes and new materials to solve energy challenges.

Diane Boyett is the communications director for Victoria school district. Con tact her at



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