ST. JOHNS COUNTY, Fla. – After being cited as the second-best program in the nation in 2021, Nease Navy Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps double-downed amping up its collective effort and was recognized as the 2021-2022 Most Outstanding Unit in the Nation by the Naval Service Training Command, according to the program.
The award recognizes the program’s overall achievement across a wide spectrum of areas including leadership, academics, scholarships, service, hosting activities, competitions, etc.
Capt. Scott LaRochelle, Senior Naval Science Instructor at Nease, told News4JAX that the cadets earned this title.
“Our senior cadets provided unwavering leadership for our 200 cadet corps all year long,” LaRochelle said. “Every single cadet from the decorated senior to the youngest freshman contributed to this award. They earned the right to be called ‘best in the nation.’”
Master Chief Duane Spears, an NJROTC instructor at Nease High school, shared a quote that was instilled in the cadets all year.
“Talent will only take you so far, hard work and talent will get you across the finish line every time.”
Spears raved about the students and said their hard work paid off.
“The effort that these Cadets put in on a day-to-day basis was remarkable and their hard work paid off. To be named The Most Outstanding NJROTC Unit in the Nation is once in a lifetime achievement, it’s like winning the Super Bowl -- everyone doesn’t get an opportunity to do it. Nease NJROTC has done it twice. We are very humble and grateful.”
LaRochelle explained to News4JAX what obstacles they had to hurdle over to become the best of the best.
“The more than 600 NJROTC programs are broken into 12 geographic areas. Each area manager who oversees their respective regions selects their Most Outstanding Unit based on a quantitative points-based evaluation that measures things like the competitiveness of your drill, academic, air rifle, and orienteering teams; the community service hours/ cadet; the leadership roles of cadets on campus; service academy and ROTC scholarships received of graduating seniors; hosting events/competitions; and several other criteria. Nease was selected as Area-12′s Most Outstanding Unit for the fifth consecutive year. The top school from the 12 areas then competes for ‘Most Outstanding Unit in the Nation,’” he said.
The school that came in second place was Troy High School in Fullerton, California, and third place went to Colts Neck High Sschool in Colts Neck, New Jersey.
Here are some of Nease’s noteworthy achievements this year:
- Nearly 6,000 community service hours
- Hosted seven competitions
- Won 15 championships in drill
- Seniors received nine Service Academy or ROTC scholarships
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