The Portage Exchange Club welcomed four outstanding MCJROTC cadets as Students of the Month for March. Assistant Principal Michael DePasquale and ROTC instructor Major John Johnston accompanied the students.
Exchange Students of the Month are selected by a panel of PHS teachers and administrators, based on scholarship, leadership, extracurricular activities and community involvement.
“Yesterday I was looking over our records and found out that the Portage MCJROTC has given away—not raised, but given away—over $50,000 in the past 10 years,” Major Johnston told the club. “This year alone we’ve given away $13 - $14,000. And it’s not me. It’s these guys. I am always so proud to accompany them to the meetings. The students you see before you are prime examples of young people who are good student leaders and they will all be successful adults. They are just going to give you the highlights of what they are involved in. If they had the time to tell you everything, you’d be amazed.”
Jennifer Leary is executive officer of the ROTC. She has been in the program for four years and previously served as historian and adjunct officer. She maintains a 3.3 GPA. She was selected to go to Hoosier Girls State where she learned about government and leadership.
Her future plans include attending Ball State and studying to become a physical therapist.
“I joined ROTC because a friend asked me to join with her, and then she moved away!” Leary said. “I stuck with the program and have really gotten a lot out of it.”
Briana Ammeson has also been in ROTC for four years.
“I joined out of pure curiosity and fill in love with the program,” she said.
Ammeson is an officer and on the drill team. She participates in several extracurricular activities and is co-captain of the color guard and winter guard. She is historian of National Honor Society and a member of the Foreign Language Honor Society. She has served in many different capacities both on and off stage as a member of Thespians. She also attended Hoosier Girls State. She carried a 3.9 GPA and plans to attend Valparaiso University and study nursing. She also plans to be an officer in the U. S. Army.
Yanitza Soto has been in ROTC for two years. She is a member of the drill team. She is also a pom dancer on the PHS dance team and a member of Thespians. She appeared in the musical “The Wedding Singer.”
Soto has a 3.0 GPA and plans to become a criminal investigator. She would like to go into the service but has not yet decided on a branch.
Josh McClelland has a 3.75 GPA. He is color and honor guard commander. He has been in ROTC for four years and for the past three years he has logged at least 100 hours of community service. He attended Hoosier Boys State. He is a member of National Honor Society and Foreign Language Honor Society and hope to join the U. S. Army.
DePasquale said, “We are so fortunate in Portage to have so many great organizations like the Exchange Club that help people in need. And we are really blessed to have the ROTC and students like these who are so willing to help these organizations out.”