Cadets on the Right: Brandon Arwady (Lake Brantley High), Miles Tankovich (Boone High), Melina Thompson (Timber Creek High), Katherine Ruffing (Timber Creek High), Bethany Jablon (Oviedo High), Ricardo Zambrano (Celebration High) Unable to attend: Dana Obeid (University High)
Others in the Photo (L/R): LCDR Havercamp (Oveido), SCPO Wade (Boone), Col Cohen (Timber Creek), LTC Mike Gillett (MOAA CFC), Lt Col Daugherty (Lake Brantley), Ms. Kalagian (Lockheed Martin), Maj Holland (MOAA CFC)
I'm proud to announce that we celebrated a luncheon on 3 April with six of the seven JROTC Senior Cadets who were each recipients of a $1,000 Scholarship Award from our chapter. The Cadets, their family, and a Cadre member were hosted at each table by one of our members. There were 51 of us to share in the exciting achievements of not only what the cadets had accomplished in High School, but we shared in the excitement that some received Service Academy Appointments, and some qualified for ROTC Scholarships! Each year I think I can't be more impressed with our selection of cadets, and each year I hear and see more potential for military service in the cadets we selected. It's an honor to be one of the four board members who interviews the cadets, and an even greater honor to bestow on them financial aid from our chapter members for a job well done in exceeding all expectations in the JROTC program. On behalf of all four selection board members, I want to thank the hard-working Cadre who take their job seriously to train and mold our future leaders, and the family members who help guide and support their children who in many cases want to follow in their footsteps and serve our country. Job well-done Cadets! We had UCF Army ROTC Cadet Jeff Bucurel who graciously offered to take all the fabulous pictures and made sure each cadet had lasting memories of their day of celebrations. Cadet Bucurel is an Army veteran of 8 years and is a member of our Chapter who lives by the MOAA Motto of "Never Stop Serving!" And, finally, a very special thanks to Lockheed Martin Corp. for their continuing and generous financial support of our Chapter and this scholarship program.
Cadet Group Commander Brandon Arwady from Lake Brantley High School is in the Air Force JROTC program who commands and leads by example to inspire his cadets to greatness. He maintained a 3.81 GPA and is active in Eagle Scouts, Varsity Football and Weightlifting, National Honor and Science Society, volunteers in many community organizations, and still finds time to work at a Chick Fil A! He intends to study Cyber Security Law at Stetson and join the Army ROTC. Thanks goes to his Senior Instructor Lt Col Don Daugherty (Ret) USAF and his Grandfather who retired from the military and supports and inspires him to join the Army in the Judge Advocate Corps.
Cadet Battalion Commander Miles Attila Tankovich from Boone High School is in the Navy JROTC program who commands 250 cadets and leads from the front to be a motivating influence on the cadets under him. He maintained a 4.2 GPA, is an Eagle Scout, on the swimming team all 4 years, has 200+ Community Service hours, and works part time as a Lifeguard/Pool Manager. Miles has been accepted at the University of South Florida and wants to major in Economics. He's signing up for the ROTC program to become a Military Intelligence Officer in the Army upon graduation. Thanks goes to his Senior Instructor LCDR Robert Strange (Ret) US Navy and SCPO Darrick Wade for all their tireless efforts in support of their cadets.
Cadet Group Commander Melina Thompson from Timber Creek High School is in the Air Force JROTC program and is attending the Air Force Academy Class of 2025. She maintained a 4.89 GPA and leads from the front as Commander of her JROTC cadets. She's on the Girls Varsity Basketball team, was one of only 150 selected (from 1,500 applicants) as the recipient of the Air Force JROTC Flight Academy Scholarship to earn her Private Pilot License, and still finds time to work part-time at a Pizzeria! A special thanks goes to her Senior Instructor Colonel David Cohen (Ret) USAF for hitting it out of the ballpark with two Service Academy cadets this year!
Cadet Deputy Group Commander Katherine Ruffing from Timber Creek is in the Air Force JROTC program and is attending the Air Force Academy Class of 2025. She maintained a 4.84 GPA and is active in JROTC Color and Honor Guard, and Varsity Soccer Team. She has always had a love of flying and earned her private pilot license, and desires to be a pilot in the Air Force. She’s the daughter of COL Jim Ruffing, an Air Force pilot, and an Academy graduate. A special thanks to Senior Instructor Colonel David Cohen (Ret) USAF for his enormous efforts to see his cadets succeed in reaching their dreams.
Cadet Ensign Bethany Jablon from Oviedo High School is in the Navy JROTC program and will be in the U.S. Military Academy Class of 2025. She maintained a 4.65 GPA and is active in the Orienteering, Athletic and Academic Teams, as well as the National Honor and Mathematics Society. She is a highly skilled communicator and exudes great confidence in herself. In the summer of 2020, she had an Internship with the Office of Congressperson Murphy and is a member of the Oviedo Historical Society. She will pursue a degree in Psychological Operations and hopes to use it once she is commissioned from West Point. Her father served in the military and her mother is a schoolteacher, and along with her Senior Naval Science Instructor LCDR Harry Haverkamp (Ret) US Navy, Bethany is destined for greatness in the US Army!
Cadet Wing Commander Ricardo Zambrano from Celebration High School is in the Air Force JROTC program who commands 250 cadets and leads by example on the Elite Physical Fitness Team "Commandos" to win the top district team twice! He maintained a 3.99 GPA, is on the Varsity Soccer, Volleyball and Track Team, and President of the National Hispanic Honor Society. Ricardo has perfected time-management to allow him to combine his school studies, the Color Guard and Drill Team, and work as a Tile Installer on the weekends! He plans on attending UCF Air Force ROTC and obtain a degree in Criminal Justice. Thanks goes to his Senior Instructor Lt Col Jimmy Soles (Ret) USAF for his selfless dedication to developing such well-rounded cadets, and the right mixture of skills to make their dreams a reality.
Cadet Battalion Commander Dana Obeid from University High School is in the Marine Corps JROTC program who is self-motivated to command and lead her cadets by being a selfless, confident, and forceful leader. She performs community service in support of UNICEF, has a part time job tutoring children with speech and writing challenges, and is on the Drill Team and Color Guard, all while maintaining an impressive 4.528 GPA! She is dual enrolled and has acquired two years of college and intends to enroll in the UCF Health Science program to become a doctor. She is waiting on a Florida Bright Futures scholarship and is pursuing an ROTC Scholarship to join the service after her Doctorate degree. Senior Marine Instructor Major Glenn Schmid (Ret) USMC is to be commended for nurturing and mentoring such an outstanding cadet!