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CCSD Air Force JROTC Programs Earn National Honors

CCSD Air Force JROTC Programs Earn National Honors

All four of the Cherokee County School District’s high school Air Force Junior ROTC programs have earned national honors for excellence for the past school year, with one program earning the highest award achievable!

The AFJROTC programs at Etowah, River Ridge and Sequoyah High Schools all earned 2024 Distinguished Unit Awards, and Cherokee High School earned the Distinguished Unit Award with Merit.  The Distinguished Unit Award was bestowed upon only 244 AFJROTC programs worldwide -- the top 33%, making it a rare feat for all of one school district’s programs to achieve this recognition.  Cherokee High School is one of only 147 programs worldwide to receive the additional Merit designation, an accomplishment that follows earning an “Exceeds Standards” rating, the highest attainable, during its annual evaluation in the fall.

The Cherokee High School program additionally earned the Silver Star Community Service with Excellence Award, the highest unit award achievable in AFJROTC!  Only 45 AFJROTC programs worldwide -- the top 5% -- earn this honor, which recognizes the importance of community service by cadets to positively impact their schools, their communities and the nation.  Over the past school year, Cherokee HS cadets contributed more than 3,500 hours of community service, with an average of 30.5 hours per cadet.  

The Cherokee HS program is led by Senior Master Sgt. (Ret.) Jeffrey Bise and Technical Sgt. (Ret.) Jody Van Ostrand.  The Etowah HS program is led by Lt. Col. (Ret.) Stephen Bergey and Technical Sgt. (Ret.) Ciarra Malto.  The River Ridge HS program is led by Major (Ret.) Marlon Ayers and Chief Master Sgt. (Ret.) Rodney Deese.  The Sequoyah HS program is led by Col. (Ret.) Dr. Detlef Klann and Chief Master Sgt. (Ret.) Dennis Dyke.

In addition to program awards, Lt. Col. Bergey of Etowah HS earned the 2024 Outstanding Instructor Award for the North Georgia region!  It is his second consecutive year to earn this honor; in 2022, Lt. Col. Bergey was named the Overall AFJROTC Instructor of the Year worldwide. 

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