San Benito NJROTC holds virtual awards ceremony

SAN BENITO — Although the coronavirus pandemic threw a curveball toward the end of this school year, school district personnel still found ways to recognize students for their efforts and achievements.

On Tuesday, the San Benito High School NJROTC program held a virtual awards ceremony.

“Unfortunately this year it was held virtually,” NJROTC instructor Chief Timothy Wilson said. “The instructors adapted and overcame because they would not let the ongoing pandemic forgo all of the hard work the NJROTC cadets have put in for the past school year.”

More than 55 local, state and national awards were presented to the cadets during the virtual ceremony.

The awards are JROTC specific and focus on requirement areas, such as GPA, leadership, dedication, community service, mentoring and school support.

Another event that occurs along with the annual awards ceremony is the program’s shadow box presentation for its senior cadets.

The boxes include medals, awards and other important items the cadets earned while in the NJROTC program.

According to Wilson, it’s a time-honored Navy tradition that is normally conducted for sailors who retire from active duty.

“The NJROTC program is strong in heritage and has adapted those principals for our cadets,” Wilson said.

The shadow boxes also serve as a reminder for the cadets of the hard work they have done and all of the accomplishments they have achieved.

“They can accomplish anything they put their mind to and overcome any obstacle,” Wilson said. “Their dedication to the NJROTC program has continued to show great pride not only within San Benito CISD, but also within their community.”

The seniors were presented their shadow boxes over a two week period before the virtual awards ceremony.

“We know that this is not the way that it normally happens,” Wilson said. “We have our awards night here at the high school where we recognize our students, but Captain (Swanson), Chief Gaytan and myself all believe that it was very important that we still recognize the hard work of our students from this year.”