Senior Cadet Kristen Samuels stands with Lennard High School Principal Denise Savino and LTC (R) David Dietz.

On March 29, senior Cadet Kristen Samuels received the Bronze American Eagle Award after being recognized as Lennard High School’s JROTC Cadet of the Year. The ceremony was held in the high school’s auditorium from 5:30-7 p.m. and included the presence of visiting civic organizations such as the American Legion and the Vietnam Veterans of America, who selected cadets to receive their awards for the 2022-23 school year.

“Kristen is an outstanding cadet worthy of the title ‘2022-23 Longhorn Cadet of the Year,’ as she is an incredible young lady with the requisite skills, values and aptitude to succeed at any institutional level, as well as in life,” said LTC (R) David Dietz, Lennard High School’s senior Army instructor.

To receive this award, Samuels had to maintain a minimum 3.5 GPA and remain in good standing with both her JROTC cadre and the Longhorn Battalion. Beyond embodying honor and integrity, she also had to hold a leadership position.

Participating in Lennard’s JROTC program for all four years of high school, Samuels was the Battalion Commander for both her junior and senior years. This is the highest position a Cadet can attain in the JROTC program.

Tasked with directing the cadet staff and its four companies of cadets, Samuels is responsible for determining which cadets are eligible to partake in extracurricular and community support activities upon an evaluation of their grades and standing within the Longhorn Battalion. By maintaining clear communication with the company commanders and ensuring all cadets remain informed, she assists in maintaining the battalion’s order and function.

Samuels was also recognized with the Daughters of the American Revolution Award for her service, patriotism, and courage. Additionally, she also received the Lennard Teachers Commendation Award, which signifies a cadet’s good standing with any teacher concerning grades, behavior, and timeliness.

After graduation, Samuels intends to attend the University of South Florida (USF). While working towards earning a bachelor’s degree in criminology, she also plans to enter the USF ROTC program, and later commission as a second lieutenant in the U.S. Army. Samuels cited that opportunities through JROTC have encouraged her to grow and prepare for her future.

“JROTC has been a motivational factor in my life, and I’ve worked hard in this program to learn new skills, especially leadership, and exceed my abilities,” said Samuels. “Being Cadet of the Year is an absolute honor because it shows that my hard work has paid off and that this is only the kickstart to my future.”

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