Nease NJROTC graduates 10 cadets from Leadership Academy


Recently recognized as the fifth Most Outstanding NJROTC Unit in the nation, Nease NJROTC restocked its high-performing cadet leadership ranks last month by successfully graduating a record 10 cadets at the Area 12 NJROTC Leadership Academy in Gainesville, Georgia, from June 10-16.

More than 200 high-performing cadets from Area 12’s 60 NJROTC high school programs throughout North Florida and the state of Georgia participated in the training. Directed by the top Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard JROTC naval science instructors in the region, the training covered leadership, precision drill, academics and physical fitness. 

Nease NJROTC graduates included rising seniors Sinead Morgan and Christopher Oliver; as well as rising juniors Elkhan Bagirov, Erin Durant, Lindy Gostage, Anna Hampton, John Lemos, Teagan Pettit, Hayden Rowe and Yuan Tian.

“Incredible,” Gostage said. “I loved it and hated it at the same time, but I’m so glad I did it.”

Cadet Troy Barber served as cadre during the week, assisting in the mentoring and training of the cadets, and all three of Nease’s naval science instructors — Captain Scott LaRochelle, Master Chief Duane Spears and Gunnery Sergeant Duane Hanson — worked as instructors and advisors.

During the training, several cadets received individual commendations for exceptional performance, including Pettit and Morgan as the No. 1 and No. 3 female athletes; Oliver as the No. 2 male athlete; Bagirov and Tian tying for No. 1 in academics; Tian as Honor Platoon cadet, signifying him as the top overall cadet in his platoon; and Hampton as platoon commander for the overall top-rated platoon during the week.

“Best week of my life,” Pettit said. “The week was nonstop go-go-go, and I can’t believe how much we learned in such a short time.”