Nease JROTC honored as nation's top program

The Nease Drill Team finished its season as sixth best in the nation for 2014-15.
The Nease Drill Team finished its season as sixth best in the nation for 2014-15. (Photo provided)

PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. – Cadets in Nease High School's Navy JROTC have been honored as the best in the nation.

Rear Admiral Richard A. Brown, Commander of U.S. Naval Service Training Command, announced that Nease's Navy JROTC was selected as the Most Outstanding (Best) Unit in the nation for 2015.

This is the first time Nease has received the prestigious recognition. Nease competed against the top NJROTC programs across the country for the honor.

NJROTC is comprised of 587 high school programs divided into 11 areas worldwide. To compete for Most Outstanding Unit, Nease was recognized as the Most Outstanding Unit in Area 12, which covers the 60 NJROTC schools in northern Florida and the state of Georgia.

Southold High School from Long Island, New York, finished second in the nation.

"It was a total unit effort," said cadet battalion commander and senior Jack Kahlbaugh. "All 237 cadets played an important role."

The Navy League of the United States sponsors the award, and the award's criteria include level of academic achievements, field meet performance, orientation activities, school service projects, community service activities, extracurricular activities, annual formal inspection report and summer training activities.

"I could not be more proud of these extraordinary young men and women," said Capt. Scott LaRochelle, Nease senior naval science instructor. "Our senior class leadership was exceptional, and their legacy of commitment and service will be remembered for years to come."

Among Nease's noteworthy achievements this year were more than 5,200 hours of community service; first-place finishes in the Mandarin Drill Meet, Terry Parker Drill Meet, Area 12 Drill Meet Championships, Middleburg Pentathlon, Lithonia Ironman, Bartram Raider Challenge, Lee Ultimate Frisbee Championship and Navarre Academic Postal.

Internally, the unit sponsors its own mentoring and tutoring program to ensure the military and academic development of all cadets in the program.