“It was a great honor to be named a Naval Honor School once, but to receive the distinction three years in a row is a testament to the hard work and dedication of the students in our program,” said Maj. J.D. York, Senior Marine Instructor at Bryant High.
“There are a small number of schools in the country that have an established tradition of excellence. You expect to see their names on the list every year similarly to how you expect to see Alabama football in the top five every year. To be included among these schools sets a standard in the program that challenges the students to be continuously improving all of the time.”
The honor means Bryant’s MJROTC program ranks in the top 20 percent of all programs in the country. This year, Bryant finished in the top five of all schools selected for Region 2, which is made up of Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee, Florida and the Carolinas. York said the high ranking should be credited to last year’s cadets.
“It is our students that go out and accomplish all the great things we have achieved. Master Sgt. (Dustin) Garig and myself simply provide them with guidance and set up opportunities for them to learn and excel,” York said.
“We had an outstanding group of senior cadets who were fully committed to the program and put forth their best effort in everything they did. They took the initiative to introduce new events and activities that really helped grow the program.”
In order to earn the Naval Honor School distinction, the Bryant cadets displayed an extreme amount of dedication and hard work according to York. They achieved a “Full Mission Capable” score on their most recent Commanding General’s Inspection.
“Marines define everything in terms of mission, meaning there is an imperative to make sure everything you do is accomplished, whether it’s showing up on time or getting good grades, and there’s no in between,” York said. “You are either ‘Full Mission Capable’ or ‘Not Mission Capable.’”
“As a Marine it is unacceptable to ever be ‘Not Mission Capable,’ so we are proud that the Marine Corps has found our program to be satisfactory, and that our cadets have met or exceeded the requirements that are expected of them.”
To help the program receive “Full Mission Capable” status, more than 80 percent of the cadets were involved in at least one sport or other extracurricular activity besides JROTC, more than 45 percent received academic awards, and almost 30 percent completed an extended stay leadership camp during the summer. The cadets completed more than 2,400 community service hours in the community, and conducted more than 30 Color Guard or other patriotic ceremonies.
Sixteen MCJROTC seniors in the 2018 graduating class received more than $1 million in academic scholarships. Nine of those students have entered or will enter the U.S. armed forces.
Being designated a Naval Honor School allows Bryant High to be able to nominate cadets to the other military service academies with a “Service Affiliated” nomination. These nominations are not available to the general population, and provide Bryant cadets with an increased chance of acceptance to schools like the U.S. Military Academy and Naval Academy, which typically require a highly competitive nomination for a U.S. Congressman, Senator, the Vice President or the President.
“These students have established a tradition of excellence that will serve as a great motivation for future cadets to meet,” York said. “And I could not be prouder of them for their accomplishments.”