Education

West Orange Jr. AFROTC Holds Annual Military Formal and Awards Ceremony

Chief Thurston, Iveth Gonzales, Abby Rosu and Maj. Marchesini. Credits: Cynthia Cumming
Maj. Marchesini, Iveth Gonzales, Danielle Arrabito, Chief Thurston Credits: Cynthia Cumming
Maj. Marchesini, Chase Garguilo, Andrei Rosu, Matthew Stern, and Chief Thurston with Shadowboxes Credits: Cynthia Cumming

WEST ORANGE, NJ – The West Orange High School Jr. Air Force ROTC celebrated several major successes at the annual Military Formal and Awards Ceremony, held on June 1 at the Wilshire Grand Hotel.

More than 200 cadets, family members and friends were on hand to recognize outstanding cadets and graduating seniors, and to enjoy several milestones achieved by the Jr. AFROTC program in just four short years.

The event opened with the POW/MIA Ceremony, leaving an empty table for all members of the military still missing in action. Welcomes and toasts were next, followed by the infamous mixing of “The Grog,” a foul liquid creation that is imbibed by those committing infractions of the rules of order.

Sign Up for E-News

The awards ceremony began after dinner and cadets were recognized in several categories. To see the complete list of award recipients, go here.

The Jr. AFROTC program at West Orange High School has been phenomenally successful and has grown in number each year. This year’s complement of cadets numbered 106; the number for 2017-18 is already capped at 166. The program has become a mainstay at the high school and at township military ceremonies.

Graduating seniors Chase Garguilo, Andrei Rosu, Matthew Stern, Iveth Gonzales and Danielle Arrabito proudly received shadowboxes, a long-standing tradition that highlights the recipient’s military career.

As if these accolades were not enough, Principal Hayden Moore stepped to the podium to announce that both Maj. Joseph Marchesini (USAF-Ret.) and Chief Ricardo Thurston had been awarded with Outstanding Instructor Awards by the Air Force. This award is only given to 10 percent of all instructors worldwide annually.

Once the Air Force has that top 10 percent selected, they pick one officer and one enlisted instructor for each of the six geographical regions as Region Outstanding Instructors of the year. Principal Moore then announced Maj. Marchesini had been named an Outstanding Instructor for Region II, who is now considered one of the top 12 Jr. AFROTC instructors worldwide.

The West Orange Jr. ROTC had their first official inspection this year, receiving the highest possible rating of Distinguished Unit with Merit. It is the highest award an AFJROTC unit can receive and West Orange High School was the only unit in the State of New Jersey to receive it this year. In fact, only 78 of 900 units worldwide received the distinction in 2017.

To be considered for this award a unit must receive an "Exceeds Standards" rating on their inspection, average at least 12 community service hours per enrolled cadet and have met all Air Force deadlines and requirements. All cadets who come back to ROTC next year will wear the coveted Distinguished Unit with Merit ribbon on their uniform.

Of particular significance, the service academies are required to set aside slots every year for cadets from JROTC units that have won this award. This will give WOHS cadets an advantage should they wish to attend a military academy.

The event ended with the ceremonial retirement of this year’s Cadet Lt. Colonel and Squadron Commander, Iveth Gonzales, and appointment of the 2017-18 Commander, Abby Rosu.

As the ceremony concluded and the colors were retired, cadets enjoyed some fun on the dance floor thanks to DJ Justin Davis.

To see all the photos from the Military Formal and Awards Ceremony, go here.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Like

Sign Up for E-News

West Orange

Livingston Christens New Saint Barnabas Medical Center Community Field

October 13, 2017

LIVINGSTON, NJ — The multipurpose turf field recently installed on Madonna Drive for the benefit of Livingston recreation and high school athletes of all ages and sports was officially unveiled as the Saint Barnabas Medical Center Community Field on Monday.

Livingston Mayor Shawn Klein, members of the Livingston Township Council, Livingston High School Athletic Director David ...

Letter to the Editor: A Call to Action on Healthcare

October 9, 2017

On July 29, 2016, one week after my 41st birthday, with no warning, I experienced a Spontaneous Coronary Artery Dissection. SCAD is an uncommon heart condition that causes arteries in the heart to tear, leading to a blockage of the artery, and, in my case, a heart attack.  I HAVE NO KNOWN RISK FACTORS FOR HEART DISEASE.  

I am a mother of two young children.  I am basically ...

Emerge NJ to Host Women of Achievement Annual Fall Gala


October 10, 2017

WEST ORANGE, NJ - Emerge NJ is hosting its second Women of Achievement Fall Gala at Mayfair Farms in West Orange, on Oct. 12, 2017 at 7 p.m.

Emerge NJ is honoring Assemblywoman Sheila Oliver, potential next Lieutenant Governor; Tammy Murphy, potential first lady of the state; Marguerite Schaffer, Somerset Democrat Chair; Dr. Khyati Joshi, Co-Chair NJ State South Asian Caucus; and Patricia ...

Department of Justice: ISIS Sympathizer Arrested in Cranford, Plotting the "Next 9/11" with Two Accomplices

October 8, 2017

NEW YORK, NY – The Department of Justice released details of a thwarted terror plot to attack New York City during the summer of 2016 on Friday.

Three men, who were arrested in 2016 and 2017, planned to detonate bombs in Times Square and the New York City subway system and shoot civilians at concert venues in support of ISIS, according to the Department of Justice.

The three arrested ...

Wait. What?

Don’t you have homework to do?

 

My teenage daughter is watching TV, texting, facetiming, instagramming, listening to music, and typing on a laptop all at the same time. 

 

Don’t you have homework to do?  I have to repeat myself a little louder because she is insulated in her electronic cocoon by ear buds.

 

“I am doing homework,” ...

'The Honeymooners' smart, snappy production

Smart, sassy production of ‘The Honeymooners’ takes off at Paper Mill

By Liz Keill

MILLBURN, NJ – “And away we go” indeed. The creative team at the Paper Mill Playhouse has taken the seeds of “The Honeymooners” from 1950’s television and turned it into a smart, snappy musical.

Ralph Kramden and Ed Norton are still up to their get-rich-quick ...