A FEW GOOD CADETS

Being the best in the nation just isn’t enough for a group of Centennial High School students.

Kerri Englert, 17, battalion commander for the school’s Navy Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps, says her group needs more rigor, more discipline, more homework and more drills.

“We’re going to convert back to our old way of doing things,” she said. “It’s rewarding when you earn something, and we have worked very hard to be where we are, but we’d like to maintain that position.”

Centennial’s 6-year-old program was named most outstanding in the nation by the Navy League in June after excelling in academics, drill, physical fitness, school leadership and community service. It is the second school ever to be unanimously nominated for the award.

The school’s 225-cadet unit competed for the honor against 625 other Junior ROTC units worldwide.

Attitudes such as Englert’s demonstrate the students’ ownership of the program, their teacher, Capt. Edward Hardeman, said. He is one of many retired Navy, Marine and Coast Guard officers and enlisted personnel commissioned to teach the high school class.

Centennial Junior ROTC students are also taught by Senior Chief Tom Borders and Petty Officer Gail Johnson.

During the team’s annual military inspection, a Navy captain came to the school and examined every student individually. The students were interrogated on everything from their uniform, to on-the-spot knowledge of military protocol, current events and leadership strategies.

“One of the reasons they were selected is because they demonstrated how they try to take care of each other. It’s not an I’m-better-than-you mentality,” said Hardeman, who boasts 33 years of active military service and was a commanding officer during the Gulf War.

The group developed its own mentoring program where upper-class students pair with freshmen to help them adjust.

The unit also hosts an academic tutoring program.

Ninety-two cadets were on the honor role last semester, and the unit increased the number of students with a 3.0 grade-point average or higher.

“I’m very proud of the fact that we work together as an entire unit,” Englert said. “It’s amazing. It’s like our own little community within the school.”

While uniforms and shined shoes make cadets stand out from other Centennial students, their ability to incorporate the rest of the school community in projects makes them much more than just another after-school organization, said Christina Danai, who was the unit’s battalion commander when it was evaluated for the award.

With members involved in student council, the National Honor Society, athletic teams, band, chorus and drama groups, the program is an integral part of the school. The cadets’ diversity earns them respect, she said.

Before the inspection, numerous signs were posted around campus wishing the unit luck and welcoming the inspector. Much to the inspector’s surprise, students not involved with Junior ROTC put up the signs.

“There’s bits and pieces from every subculture the high school has. No two people are the same, but at the same time everyone can identify with each other in some way,” said Danai, 17.

Danai, who graduated from Centennial in the spring, will attend the Naval Academy in Annapolis in the fall. She said Junior ROTC was the catalyst for her future career with the Navy.

“I’m just motivated to serve my country, to accomplish great things and to have some honor to my name,” she said. “I definitely want to appreciate the value of family and friendship and to keep myself healthy and in shape.”

Out of Centennial’s 21 senior cadets in 2007, 20 students graduated this year, six entered the military and 10 will enter college in the fall.

Most of the program’s graduates who chose to join the military either enlist right after high school or join ROTC programs at universities. Several of the program’s alumni are serving in the Gulf. Two Centennial Junior ROTC graduates serve on the presidential security force. And one is attending the Air Force Academy in Colorado.

When speaking to the cadets, Hardeman likens life to a party, saying the best parties have rules. He wants his students to take the same sort of ownership they have for the program and apply it to their own future.

That includes their happiness, he said. He uses games and exercises to illustrate this point.

For example, press the “Fun Button,” a foam smiley face attached to the wall near the doorway of the Junior ROTC room, and nothing happens. It doesn’t seem very “fun.”

However, Hardeman insists, that the button is fun as long as whoever presses it makes it that way. Just like life, you make it what you want it to be, he said.

“The students understand that the only person stopping them from obtaining their goal is themselves.”

Centennial Junior ROTC cadets organize all their after-school activities, community service and fundraising. They contributed nearly 4,000 hours of community service last year.

“We just have great leadership at every grade level,” said Danai. “JROTC isn’t just a school club, or after-school activity. It’s a lifestyle. It gives you a sense of pride in yourself. You find yourself honored to be part of something great.”

ad-high_impact_4
News
Rick Davidson directs NFR satellite feed
Rick Davidson directs the Wrangler NFR's live satellite feed from a production trailer outside the Thomas & Mack Center. (Patrick Everson)
Scott Boras, Bryce Harper's agent, speaks to media at baseball's winter meetings
Baseball agent Scott Boras updates media on the contract negotiations of his client Bryce Harper during baseball's winter meetings at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas, Nevada, on Dec. 12, 2018. (Ron Kantowski/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Achievement School District
The achievement district faced strong opposition from traditional schools back in its beginnings in 2016. But with schools like Nevada Rise and Nevada Prep, it's slowly and steadily growing. Amelia Pak-Harvey/Las Vegas Review-Journal
Fresno State QB on record-breaking receiver
Fresno State quarterback Marcus McMaryion talks record-setting receiver KeeSean Johnson. Video by Mark Anderson/Las Vegas Review-Journal
The annual 'Shop with a Cop' event at Target
This year’s "Shop with a Cop" event gave about 40 children the chance to shop at Target alongside a North Las Vegas Police officers. Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal @Bizutesfaye
Melvin Dummar dead at 74
Melvin Dummar has died at 74. Dummar was famous for claiming to have saved Howard Hughes in a Nevada desert in 1967. Dummar claimed to have been left $156 million in Hughes’ will. The will mysteriously appeared after Hughes’ death in 1976. It was dismissed as a fake two years later. Dummar never saw a dime of the billionaire's fortune. Dummar died Saturday in Nye County.
Officer-involved shooting in Nye County
The Nye County Sheriff's Office gives information about a shooting in Pahrump on Thursday night after a man began firing shots outside of his home. (Nye County Sheriff's Office)
Law Enforcement Active Shooter Training Exercise
Multiple Las Vegas Valley law enforcement agencies held an active shooter drill at the Department of Public Safety’s Parole and Probation office on December 6, 2018. Officials set up the training exercise to include multiple active shooters, a barricaded suspect and multiple casualties. (Katelyn Newberg/ Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Public memorial service for Jerry Herbst
Archiving effort hits milestone at Clark County Museum
The Clark County Museum catalogs the final item from the bulk of Route 91 Harvest festival artifacts. (John Przybys/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Pearl Harbor survivor Edward Hall talks about his memories of Dec. 7, 1941
U.S. Army Corps Edward Hall, a 95-year-old survivor of Pearl Harbor talks about his memories of that horrific day. Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal @bizutesfaye
Final Route 91 Harvest festival remembrance objects catalogued at Clark County Museum
The last of the more than 17,000 items left at the makeshift memorial near the Las Vegas sign after the Oct. 1 shootings have been catalogued at the Clark County Museum in Las Vegas. The final item was a black-and-white bumper sticker bearing "#VEGASSTRONG. An additional 200 items currently on display at the museum will be catalogued when the exhibit comes down. (K.M. Cannon Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Dozier execution timeline
Scott Dozier was set to be executed July 11, 2018, at the Ely State Prison. Judge Elizabeth Gonzalez delayed the execution.
Grand Jury Indicts Constable for theft
A Clark County grand jury indicted Henderson Constable Earl Mitchell. A Las Vegas Review-Journal investigation prompted the criminal probe. The newspaper found Mitchell wrote himself thousands in checks, took out cash at ATMs and traveled on county funds. He faces four felony counts of theft and a county of public misconduct. Mitchell and his attorney could not be reached for comment.
93-year-old WWII veteran arrested during visit to VA hospital
Dr. S. Jay Hazan, 93, a World War II veteran, talks about his arrest during his visit to VA hospital on Friday, Nov. 30. (Erik Verduzco Las Vegas Review-Journal @Erik_Verduzco_
Pearl Harbor survivor struggles in her senior years
Winifred Kamen, 77, survived the attack on Pearl Harbor as an infant, works a 100 percent commission telemarketing job to make ends meet. (K.M. Cannon Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas Metropolitan Briefing 18th street gang
Las Vegas Metropolitan briefs the media on the recent arrests made regarding the 18th street gang.
Man shot in Las Vegas traffic stop had knife, police say
Police said the man fatally shot by an officer during a traffic stop in downtown Las Vegas had a “homemade knife.” Demontry Floytra Boyd, 43, died Saturday at University Medical Center from multiple gunshot wounds after officer Paul Bruning, 48, shot him during a traffic stop. Bruning pulled Boyd over on suspicion of driving recklessly at 7:41 a.m. near Sunrise Avenue and 18th Street.
Catahoula dogs rescued from home in Moapa Valley
Catahoula dogs were brought to The Animal Foundation after being rescued from home in Moapa Valley.
Intuitive Forager Kerry Clasby talks about losses in California wildfire
Intuitive Forager Kerry Clasby talks about losses she suffered in California's Woolsey Fire in Malibu in November. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Benefit dinner for Kerry Clasby, the Intuitive Forager
Sonia El-Nawal of Rooster Boy Cafe in Las Vegas talks about having a benefit for Kerry Clasby, known as the Intuitive Forager, who suffered losses on her farm in California’s Woolsey Fire in Malibu. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Former President George H.W. Bush dies at 94
Former President George H.W. Bush has died at the age of 94. He died Friday night in Houston, about eight months after the death of his wife, Barbara.
Las Vegans Celebrate Big Snowfall
Las Vegans celebrate big snowfall at Lee Canyon.
Exploring old mines for denim jeans and other vintage items
Caden Gould of Genoa, Nev. talks about his experiences looking for vintage denim jeans and other items in old mines and other places areas across Nevada and the west.
Officers share photo of dead gunman after Las Vegas shooting
A little over an hour after SWAT officers entered Stephen Paddock's suite at Mandalay Bay, Las Vegas police officers far from the scene were already sharing cell phone photos of the dead Oct. 1 gunman.
Frontier jet safely returns to Las Vegas after losing engine piece
Frontier jet safely returns to Las Vegas after losing engine piece. (@FlightAlerts_)
Park Service plans ahead for lower lake levels
National Park Service releases new plans to maintain access to the water as Lake Mead continues to shrink.
Women claim abuse at Florence McClure Women's Correctional Facility
Current and ex-inmates, including Merry West, are suing Florence McClure Women’s Correctional Facility, claiming abuse and inadequate medical care. (Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @rookie__rae
Butte County Sheriff's Office Body Cam Footage
Bodycam video from Butte County (Calif.) Sheriff's Office Deputy Aaron Parmley, who was in Paradise November 8 helping with evacuations. (Butte County Sheriff's Office)
TOP NEWS
News Headlines
Add Event
Home Front Page Footer Listing
Circular
You May Like

You May Like