Andrew Fischer (center), senior at Newsome High School, recently became the JROTC Cadet of the Year for Hillsborough County. Fischer is pictured with (left to right) Superintendent Addison Davis, Principal Katie Rocha, CTE Supervisor Dr. Andrea Beverly, LTC Eric Deal and School Board Chair Lynn Gray.

Newsome Army JROTC Cadet Major Andrew Fischer has a lot to celebrate this year. In addition to earning a coveted entrance in the Air Force Academy class of 2025, being a state-ranked drill team captain, volunteering over 250 hours in the community and making the All-County & All-State Orchestras, he has also been named the Hillsborough County Cadet of the Year.

In Hillsborough County, 28 high schools offer JROTC (Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps) programs representing the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines. The top cadets from each program represent their schools and compete for the top billing as Cadet of the Year out of a pool of 5,200.

Fischer began his JROTC program in eighth grade after hearing a presentation about the program at his middle school.

“It was in the first year of JROTC that I learned a lot about myself and how the JROTC would dictate my life,” explained Fischer. “It shaped a lot of my personality and my values. It really has made me a good person and a good citizen as well.”

In addition to all of his other activities, Fischer also plays the bass with the University of Tampa Orchestra, plays the bagpipes and enjoys crafting fine-scale boats and airplanes. He is a volunteer with the Civil Air Patrol and a recipient of numerous academic and service awards at Newsome. He is also a member of the National and National Technical Honor Societies.

“I will be going to the Air Force Academy in June of this year once I graduate,” Fischer said, “and I couldn’t have achieved this accomplishment without the help and guidance of my instructors, LTC Eric Deal, MSG Jaime Castro and MSG Erick Bertram.”

At Newsome, he has attained the rank of cadet major, and is the inspector general and drill team captain. He also led the drill team to the State Drill Competition, bringing home several awards, including second place for Male/Mixed Squad Exhibition, second place for Male/Mixed Unarmed Squad Regulation, fourth place for Female Squad Exhibition and fifth place for Female Squad Regulation.

Fischer, humble about his accomplishments, said, “I was kind of surprised when they called my name at the ceremony. These people are truly astonishing people and to know I’m associated with these people was a really cool moment for me.”

The U.S. Army’s JROTC program currently operates in more than 1,700 public and private high schools, military institutions and correctional centers throughout the United States and overseas. For information, visit www.usarmyjrotc.com.

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Libby is a writer for The Osprey Observer/The Christian Voice. She started as an intern in 2009 and upon finishing her internship, she was asked to stay on as a permanent writer for both papers. Libby lives in Brandon with her two rescue dogs, Olive and Bogey.