COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - With students mostly from Columbus, the Lighthouse Brigade’s mission is to “prepare cadets academically, physically and morally ready to graduate high school, ready for college or career.”
They came out, in uniform earlier this week, to be honored.
Many of them may be future soldiers. The Lighthouse Brigade JROTC held its annual awards night Tuesday at St. Luke United Methodist Church in Columbus. These are students from eight schools in Muscogee County and one in Chattahoochee County.
Their JROTC instructors say it's impressive to see the transformations for these cadets, especially over four years. These awards are based on the students' military leadership potential, selfless service, and academic performance, with many of these teens in the top ten or 25 percent of their class.
We talked to a few of the cadets who won some of the top awards for the Lighthouse Brigade. Here’s what they had to say about the experience:
“JROTC teaches me a lot about leadership and how to carry myself," Carver High JROTC Cadet Giovanni Manuel said.
“They come in as freshmen, kinda off the wall, and you see them mature through the years, and it really is encouraging to see the growth in them...and feel like you had a little bit to do with that growth," LTC (Ret) Phillip Benefield, Jordan High Sr. Army Instructor, told us.
Shaw High JROTC Cadet Connor Riggs said, “People think it’s all hardcore, that you’ll be doing this and that, and people barking orders, but it’s nothing like that. If you cooperate, it can be really exciting.”
“We stop what we’re doing to recognize leadership and great achievements in academics and class for all these students," Columbus High Sr. Army Instructor Jose Pizarro added.
The cadets also say JROTC teaches them discipline and respect for everyone. They say it also helps inspire them to keep going even when things get rough or when they’re met with new challenges.