Two Lely High School students from Marco Island were to be honored at the March meeting of the Marco Island Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) at the Island Country Club.
But, one of them was AWOL for the ceremony.
Every year, Lely High School Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (JROTC) Sr. Army Instructor, Lt. Col. David Price and the local DAR members recognize two cadets for their outstanding academic achievements and extracurricular activities.
This year, the recipients of tribute medals and scholarship money were Lely junior, Emily Hine and senior Jonathan Perez.
Lt. Col. Price explained that Perez had a very good reason for his absence. That same morning, he was on a plane to Rochester, New York. The university was flying him there for an interview for a four-year scholarship; room, board, and tuition — the full ride.
“I said, Jonathon, maybe you should go up there,” said Price with a laugh.
The opportunity for him is well deserved. Just a few of his accomplishments include a 5.3 Grade Point Average, ranking first in his senior class, National Honor Society, National Merit Scholar, Advanced Placement Scholar of Distinction and more. He’s an athlete too; on the cross country, soccer and track teams.
Emily Hine was there to accept her awards. She’s a junior with a 4.2 GPA, a member of the National Honor Society and Key Club. She’s an athlete too, on the swim and track teams, Road Runner’s Club, Marco Running Club and she captained the Junior Varsity Soccer Team for two years. She’s involved in Mother’s Morning Out, the Capri Christian Church and has worked at the Marco Movies and Arturo’s Restaurant.
Emily hopes to attend the U.S. Air Force Academy.
Both Emily and Jonathan participated in the Lely JROTC health screenings in conjunction with the Collier County Public Health Department. All the cadets conduct hearing and vision testing on pre-school through 8th graders within Collier County. Without the JROTC cadets, says Price, the county couldn’t conduct that program.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta learned of this program several years ago. Today, the CDC has enlisted 2,500 JROTC units throughout the country, to duplicate the Collier County program.
In these tight economic times, it’s worth noting that the JROTC program at Lely pays off for its cadets — literally. In the program’s 15 years, scholarships have averaged $800,000 for college-bound seniors. In 2008, 13 seniors were awarded $1,350,000 in scholarships.
The program has been under the enthusiastic leadership of Lt. Col. Price since he retired from the Army Central Command in Tampa. Before that, he was an intelligence officer in Kuwait during the Gulf War.
He explained that JROTC is not a military recruitment tool. It’s an elective course whose goal is to give cadets with direction and a goal to continue their education after high school. For more information, call Lt. Col. David Price at 417-4534
To find out more about the Marco Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution call Kay Ziegler at 642-0711. The chapter was founded in 1976. The DAR works to preserve the spirit of the men and women who achieved American Independence.