The Alafia River Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) still distributed its award for excellence within the JROTC program to seven local high schools in Brandon last month: Armwood, Bloomingdale, Brandon, Durant, Newsome, Strawberry Crest and Tampa Bay Tech.

By Anjali Caligiuri

Due to the unexpected pandemic ending school early, the annual JROTC award ceremonies were canceled; however, the Alafia River Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) still distributed their award for excellence within the JROTC program to seven local high schools in the Brandon area: Armwood, Bloomingdale, Brandon, Durant, Newsome, Strawberry Crest and Tampa Bay Tech.

“The Daughters of the American Revolution, DAR, was founded in 1890 and is a nonprofit, nonpolitical volunteer women’s service organization dedicated to promoting patriotism, preserving American history and securing America’s future through better education for children,” said Kim Ruiz, publicity chair of the Alafia River DAR.

The devotion to patriotism and continuous support of education for America’s youth is displayed in their deliverance of the award, despite the cancellation of the ceremonies.

The DAR collaborates closely with the JROTC instructors to determine which cadets are worthy of the award. Recipients must meet specific criteria, including demonstrations of loyalty, patriotism, scholastic achievement, leadership, good character, dependability and military discipline as well as be in the upper 25 percent of their JROTC and academic classes.

“ROTC Medals are awarded to student cadets of outstanding ability and achievement in high school, junior college, college or university ROTC programs of the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps,” said Ruiz.

Under normal circumstances, organizations such as the DAR are invited to the end-of-year ceremonies to distribute the awards to the many outstanding cadets. But even though the ceremonies were canceled, the Alafia River DAR found another way to give the cadets their well-earned awards.

“As a result, our chapter has mailed the certificate, ribbon and medal to the respective high schools so they may handle the proper distribution once school is able to resume in the fall,” said Ruiz.

Although many other important ceremonies have been canceled as well, the Alafia River DAR ensures the loyal and patriotic leaders of the JROTC programs are properly recognized for their dedication and excellence within the program.

For more information about the DAR or the Alafia River Chapter, email the chapter’s registrar at ARCRegistrar201921@gmail.com.