On May 23rd, three New Bern SAR Chapter officers participated in the New Bern High School Naval JROTC awards ceremony and banquet festivities, held at the New Bern Convention Center. There were over 340 attendees at the banquet. Led by Naval Science Instructors Lieutenant Commander Craig Tyson, USN (Ret.) and Master Sergeant Sam Dotson, USMC (Ret), the unit has captured the Distinguished Unit award for an unprecedented 15 consecutive years under their guidance and mentoring. Rear Admiral Jay DeLoach, USN (Ret.), New Bern Chapter Vice President, was the guest speaker for the banquet and delivered a request to the cadets to “develop a passion for lifelong learning” and to “never stop learning”. Admiral DeLoach along with SAR Chapter President Rolf Maris presented the SAR Bronze JROTC Cadet Medal to Cadet Lieutenant Commander Tristan Seale for his outstanding leadership, drill team instruction, and academic prowess with a grade point average of 4.1. He will become a Company Commanding Officer for the next school year.
Rolf Maris, also wore a different hat that evening and presented the Sons of the Union Veterans Medal to Cadet Petty Officer First Class Caleb McGinn for his excellence in leadership, citizenship, and patriotism. Gary Gillette, New Bern Chapter Registrar, represented the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Post 2514, where he presented a VFW Citation and Medal, to a cadet, in special recognition of their outstanding achievements, and the exceptional leadership ability they’ve demonstrated throughout the year. The 2018 recipient of the VFW Citation and Medal was Cadet Commander Sean Thaw. Sean is an active member of the Sailing Team, the Rifle Team, the Athletic Team and the New Bern High School Varsity Soccer Team. He is a graduate of the prestigious Area SIX Leadership Academy, held at the Citadel in Charleston, South Carolina. Sean maintains a 3.91 Grade Point Average and has been selected to be the Battalion Commanding Officer for the upcoming school year.
Topping off the award ceremony, Admiral DeLoach, along with the New Bern High School Principal Jerry Simmons and Craven County Schools Superintendent Dr. Meghan Doyle, presented the Outstanding Cadet of the Year Award to the current Cadet Battalion Commander, Abigail ‘Gabby’ Garman, for her exemplary leadership, sailing skills as a skipper, and academic excellence with a grade point average of 4.8. She is heading to NC State University next year and will major in biochemistry with plans to attend medical school afterwards.