Brigadier General Karen Dyson was the guest speaker at the Awards Night for the Junior ROTC program at the Southwest Area Career Center in Monett on Friday.
Brigadier General Dyson, a graduate of Southwest Missouri State University, was introduced by Lieutenant Colonel Maela Lohman as "one of the ones without a doubt we enjoy having as one of our military leaders in Washington, D.C."
Dyson spoke about doing a little research about Monett and discovering an image of the JROTC color guard on the Monett Chamber of Commerce's website, reflecting pride in the school program. Dyson praised the students for "doing what's beyond the ordinary." Scenes in a slide show of activities through the year further illustrated the JROTC vision statement: "Strength for now; strength for later."
"There are things you do now that you didn't think you could do," Dyson said. "That's strength for now. Adding something to the foundation of who you are is strength for later."
Dyson had specific recommendations for the cadets. She advised them to finish their high school diplomas and consider college degrees as a way to further their personal foundations. The general urged the cadets to continuing drawing on the strength of the team as a way to keep growing.
"Think about just how big the world is," Dyson said. "Education, the ability to travel, pushing your envelope are all nuggets you can add to your foundation. You're getting great skills here. This isn't an end. This is just transition for you."
Dyson assisted Lohman and First Sergeant John Marbut in distributing honors for the year. Certificates for completion of Leadership Education Training (LET), good conduct, physical fitness, excellent staff performance, instructor leadership, cadet challenge leadership, perfect attendance and academic achievement were presented to the cadets. Named superior cadets for their LET were Gregory Owens, Nicole Bitzer, Alysa Haverly and Monica Falcon.
Mollea Sisney was named "Top Gun" for the year. Haverly was named distinguished cadet for having the highest grade point average. Monica Falcon received the top instructor leadership honor. The Jim Sharman Revolving Trophy Leadership Award went to Bitzer as unarmed drill team captain.
National awards were presented by the following organizations to cadets:
Association of United State Army: Amberlynn Harris.
Veterans of Foreign Wars: Charles Wallace.
American Legion, Cassville: Andrew Brandt, Joseph Smith, Caleb Lee, Wyatt Burton, Rachael Ashby and Stephen Jennings.
American Legion, Monett: Levi Duncan, Jackson Dempsey, Blake Carlton, Tyler Ruth, Natasha Hendershot and Cole Ives.
Daughters of the American Revolution: Odessa Fair.
Embry-Riddle Celebrate Freedom Foundation: Martin Medina.
Sons of the American Revolution: Daniel Bente.
Military Officers Association: Gregory Owens.
U.S. Army Recruiting Command Award: Shayne Peters and Samantha Cypret, scholar athletes; Brandon Gwin, Joshua Pipkin, James VanHauenstein and Jeremy Thomas, cadet awards.
American Veterans: Alexander Lyons.
National Sojourners Award: Samantha Cypret.
Scottish Rite of Freemasonry: Amanda Casey.
Non-commissioned Officers Association: Mollea Sisney.
Reserve Officers Associate Award: Nicole Bitzer.
Military Order of World Wars Award: Justin Christiansen.
Military Order of the Purple Heart: Clay Wilson.