Nease NJROTC, the No. 1 program in Northern Florida and the state of Georgia, and one of the top 10 programs nationally, restocked its high-performing cadet leadership ranks, successfully graduating seven cadets at the Area-12 NJROTC Leadership Academy in Clay County from July 21-25.
The NJROTC Leadership Academy historically brings together the top 200 cadets from Area-12’s 60 high school programs across Northern Florida and Georgia. However, this year, to ensure the proper health and safety of the trainees, smaller Leadership Academy clusters were organized across the area. The Clay County Leadership Academy included 30 cadets from Clay, Fleming Island, Middleburg, Oakleaf, Orange Park, Ridgeview and Nease high schools.
Top Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard JROTC naval science instructors from the seven schools directed the training, which covered leadership, drill, academics and fitness.
This year’s attendees included rising seniors Brandon Donovan and Juan Castillo, and rising juniors Kaitlyn Boggs, Daniel Mahoney, Brodie Mongon, Isabella Rivera and Haylie Spell. Cadets Dylan Dosio and Amber Vidler served as cadre during the week, assisting in the mentoring and training of the cadets. All three of Nease’s naval science instructors, Capt. Scott LaRochelle, Master Chief Duane Spears and Gunnery Sgt. Duane Hanson worked as instructors for the program.
“An awesome experience,” cadet Brodie Mongon said. “The hands-on practical training in command presence will definitely pay off in leading the unit this year.”
Cadets received individual medals for exceptional performance, including cadets Boggs and Castillo for Personnel Inspection; cadets Boggs, Donovan, Mongon and Rivera for Academics; and cadets Mahoney, Mongon and Rivera for Honor Cadet.
“With all the uncertainties and unknowns forecast in the coming year, leaders will be needed to lead,” Cadet Brandon Donovan said. “I feel as a result from this training we’re more prepared to meet that challenge.”