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Gateway High School MCJROTC earns Naval Honor School distinction

Master Sgt. J. L. Wright Jr.

KISSIMMEE, Fla. (Sept. 16, 2020) – Gateway High School’s Marine Corps Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps program earned Naval Honor School distinction Sept. 11 – the first time in more than a decade.

Selection for the Naval Honor School means the school’s MCJROTC program was in the top 20 percent of the 268 programs in the United States.

This award means a lot to the program, school and the school district, according to Chief Warrant Officer Vu Tran, the Senior Marine Instructor.

“Earning this award would not be possible without [the Cadet’s] hard work and dedication or without the support of the administration and school district,” said Tran.  “These young cadets and my fellow instructors, Master Sgt. Wright and Gunnery Sgt. Sterling, pour their heart and soul into this program and the local community – I am so proud of their accomplishment!” 

Selection for Naval Honor School is based on several criteria from the previous school year, according to Maj. Brent Hampton, Region 2 Director for MCJROTC.  “Within Region 2, we have 69 units who competed this past school year and 14 of them earned the Naval Honor School award,” he said. 

Criteria evaluated includes the inspector general inspection results, number of cadets in the program, the number of community service hours, the number of public affairs events attended by cadets, the number of academic awards presented to cadets and the total dollar amount awarded for all scholarships and enlistments (See sidebar for Gateway statistics).

In addition, MCJROTC programs are evaluated by their performance in a variety of competitions including drill team, academics, marksmanship, and physical fitness.

Finally, MCJROTC programs who host Senior Leadership and/or Cadet Leadership summer camps and field trips supporting the growth and development of cadets are given more consideration for the award.

“It is awesome to see Marine Corps JROTC units challenging themselves to improve from year-to-year,” said Hampton.  “Gateway High School Marine Corps JROTC should be proud of themselves for proving what it takes to be successful.  Applying the skills gained in working long-term for this distinction, will set these cadets up for success in anything they go on to do in life.  I am proud to be associated with these hard-working young women and men!”

Achieving Naval Honor School status has significant advantages – it allows the Senior Marine Instructor to nominate up to 12 cadets to each of the three service academies – U.S. Naval Academy, U.S. Military Academy at West Point, and the U.S. Air Force Academy. 

These nominations are considered equal to a nomination from a U.S. representative or senator.

“Our Marine Corps JROTC program is definitely a point of pride for our school,” said Gateway Principal James Long. “Our instructors do a great job of leading this amazing group of cadets and instilling in them important values such as honor, integrity and teamwork.  I’m so proud of our cadets, and the leadership they demonstrate every day at our school and in our community.”