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JROTC Essay Contest winners


March 17, 2017

Victor Snover

Cadet Captain Justis Hughs

Every fall, Army JROTC Cadet Command based out of Ft. Knox, Kentucky, assigns the annual JROTC cadet essay topic as part of the national essay contest.

This year, the first place overall of all of 5th Brigade JROTC was awarded to Aztec JROTC Cadet Captain Justis Hughs. Second place was awarded to Cadet Major Bethany Parks of Bloomfield High School JROTC.

According to SFC (R) Jeff Rabuck this is the first time a local cadet has been recognized for this high level of achievement in this national competition.

Cadet Hughs is one of approximately 110 cadets in Aztec High School JROTC, and among the approximately 46,000 cadets in programs throughout 5th brigade. The brigade is one of 7 JROTC brigades in the United States and US territories and covers 8 states (New Mexico, Arizona, Colorado, Wyoming, Texas, Arkansas, Utah, and Oklahoma), covering 316 schools. US Army JROTC covers all 50 states and territories with approximately 350,000 cadets enrolled in 1701 programs nationwide.

This year's essay topic was "Service to Others," and Cadet Hughs focused on her (and her fellow cadets) work and experiences with the Aztec JROTC service learning partnership at Aztec Ruins National Monument and Chaco Culture Historic Monument. This spring marks the sixth year of the partnership with New Mexico Youth Conservation Corps (NMYCC), and the National Park Service, as well as key support from Aztec Municipal School District. The grants awarded by NM Youth Conservation Corps over the past 6 years have been worth $700,000.00 with $500,000.00 of that going directly to cadet salaries. The cadets use those monies earned from the project grant for a variety of things in the community from frequenting local restaurants and businesses, saving for college, and even purchasing a first vehicle.

This is Park's second year in JROTC at BHS where she is joined by approximately 120 other students. Her essay also followed the theme of community service.

Parks is involved in several community service projects, including service learning through JROTC, and volunteering with FFA and her church.

Both of the essays will now be entered in the national level competition for a chance to win an all-expenses paid trip for the cadet and a chaperon to Washington D.C. for the Army JROTC Cadet Command Essay Awards ceremony and banquet taking place in June.


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