Newsome High School senior Katherine Metheny was recently named JROTC Cadet of the Year for Hillsborough County.

Newsome High School has another success to celebrate this month. The school’s valedictorian, Katherine Metheny, was named Hillsborough County’s Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (JROTC) Cadet of the Year at a recent ceremony.

JROTC is a federal program sponsored by the United States Armed Forces and is based in high schools across the country and military bases across the world. Twenty-seven of Hillsborough County’s public high schools have JROTC programs representing the four different branches of the military, and in 2018, approximately 5,200 students participated throughout the school district.

The group’s mission is to motivate young people to become better citizens by preparing them for responsible leadership roles and making them aware of their rights, responsibilities and privileges as American citizens.

“The caliber of students who participate in JROTC is incredible,” said Metheny, whose brothers were also cadets when they attended Newsome. “The program at my school in particular inspires genuine leadership, not just in title but in character as well.”

Each of the 27 county programs nominated a student for Cadet of the Year, and after a process of essays, tests and interviews, 10 finalists were chosen based on elements including grade point average, community service hours, letters of recommendation and military knowledge.

“I was so proud to represent Newsome,” said Metheny. “There are so many incredible young leaders in our battalion; it was an honor to be chosen among them.”

During the Cadet of the Year awards ceremony, Metheny also won five additional prizes recognizing her leadership and dedication.

Metheny, who worked her way through the ranks at Newsome’s JROTC and is currently the battalion’s executive officer, credits the school’s JROTC leadership with the students’ success.

“Our leadership is wonderful at cultivating a culture of success and pushing us to new heights,” she said. After her graduation from Newsome this month, Metheny plans to attend the University of South Florida and study pre-law. She recommends the JROTC program to any student looking to grow during high school.

For more information on Newsome JROTC, visit www.newsomejrotc.com. To learn more about the program throughout Hillsborough County, call 272-4000. Newsome High School is located at 16550 FishHawk Blvd. in Lithia.