On Thursday, friends and family of North Augusta High School Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps cadets gathered to celebrate the cadets’ accomplishments during the school year at the annual awards ceremony and change of command at Grace United Methodist Church.
“It’s been a busy, productive year, and they did a great job,” said Cmdr. Ken Beck, North Augusta High Schools’ senior naval science instructor.
The North Augusta JROTC program had 135 cadets, including 22 seniors, during the 2012-13 school year. Thursday’s ceremony marked a time of achievement as well as highlighted the promotions of the cadets and their new jobs within the staff.
Beck said the announcement of promotions and new jobs is a highlight of the evening for the cadets. During the last few weeks of school, cadets transitioning from positions within the unit will help incoming staff learn the job.
Eric Clubb, outgoing cadet commander, relinquished his command to Ryan Boileau in an emotion-tinged speech.
“I think what I will remember most of all is the friends that I’ve made,” he said. “Being commander of this unit is the greatest honor and privilege I’ve had in high school.”
He said he knows those he’s served with in JROTC will be a success in the years ahead and expressed gratitude to the cadets.
“Thank you for the trust you put in me. It’s an experience I will never forget,” he said.
Boileau, the incoming commander, made few remarks.
“I will not let you down,” he said. “I look forward to a great year.”
In addition to saying goodbye to the graduating seniors, three of whom plan to enlist in the Navy, the cadets said goodbye to Senior Chief Petty Officer Keith Davis, who is leaving after four years with the school’s naval science program.
Clubb said his class was with Davis during his entire time at North Augusta High School and the cadets shared a special bond with him.
“Thank you for being a teacher, coach and friend,” he said.
The seniors presented Davis with a class picture.