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Soledad High School naval cadets receive unit award – Salinas Valley Tribune

SOLEDAD – The Soledad High School Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps training program received the Distinguished Unit Award for the fourth time in a row.

Congressman Jimmy Panetta, a Navy combat veteran, visited the cadets in the school gymnasium on March 23 to recognize their greatest achievement, receiving only the top 5% of the country’s Junior Reserve Officer Training programs, or JROTC.

“I have had the privilege of addressing NJROTC cadets at Soledad High School and congratulating them on their fourth consecutive Distinguished Unit Award,” said Panetta, who also shared her experiences growing up in the area and attending local schools, her service in the Navy and as he continues to serve as a District 20 congressman.

Congressman Jimmy Panetta speaks with NJROTC cadets at Soledad High School on March 23 to recognize his Distinguished Unit award. (Contributed)

To win the Distinguished Unit Award, the highest NJROTC recognition, a program must maintain a high cadet enrollment and high academic standards, exercise competitions, fitness, and community service.

There are currently 167 cadets enrolled in the Soledad NJROTC program, which has achieved many achievements in the last seven years. Most recently, the show won third place overall and other major awards at a regional drilling competition in Las Vegas earlier this year.

“It’s really amazing to see how these young men and women develop over their time at NJROTC,” said Pete Gomez, the school’s senior naval science instructor and retired U.S. Navy Corps captain. “They come out with leadership, discipline and a professional mindset, all the traits and more that will give them the brightest future.”

Also recognized during last month’s assembly was cadet commander Soledad NJROTC Nadia Manzano, who was selected to attend Newport, RI Naval Academy Preparatory School. After a year, he will move to the Naval Academy.

“Nadia is thrilled and grateful to everyone who helped her achieve this great milestone, including the backing of Congresswoman Panetta,” Gomez said.

Soledad High NJROTC cadet commander Nadia Manzano (far left) was selected to attend Newport, RI Naval Academy Preparatory School. Manzano thanked Congressman Jimmy Panetta (far right) and his support of Congress for helping her achieve this milestone. (Contributed)

Soledad School Board Vice President Ivan Ibarra Mora and Monterey County Supervisor Chris Lopez were also present to celebrate the achievement of the local cadets, and Lopez presented a certificate of recognition to Gomez on behalf of the county.

“It was an honor to join our congressman in Soledad this afternoon to recognize the Soledad Institute’s NJROTC program,” Lopez said on social media later.

Soledad NJROTC is a citizenship development program. According to local veteran and program advocate Tony Virrueta, who helped make Panetta’s visit possible, the JROTC is “one of the most diverse and interesting programs a high school student can participate in.”

Soledad cadets join more than half a million students across the United States who are enrolled in more than 3,000 JROTC programs. The purpose of the JROTC is to “instill in students the value of citizenship, service to the United States, personal responsibility, and a sense of accomplishment.”

“Thanks to Captain Gomez, Chief Peaches and Chief Dunn, the Soledad NJROTC program has earned NJROTC’s highest recognition, the Distinguished Unit Award, four years in a row and is considered one of the best programs in the country,” Virrueta said.

Monterey County Supervisor Chris Lopez presents a certificate of recognition to Pete Gomez, the school’s top naval science instructor, on behalf of the county. (Contributed)

Soledad High School naval cadets receive unit award – Salinas Valley Tribune Source link Soledad High School naval cadets receive unit award – Salinas Valley Tribune

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