POLACCA, Ariz. - The Hopi Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (JROTC) had an impressive school year this year. What better way to end the school year than by ending with a Military Ball. The ball took place May 1 with the receiving line starting at 6:10 p.m. The cadets, parents of cadets, special guests and staff were greeted by the staff officers and others. The services started at 6:30 p.m. with a prayer by Rod Pongyesea. The posting of colors was conducted by the JROTC Honor Guard.
Cadet PFC Lorencita Qumwintewa was the first rifle barrier and Cadet PFC Sunny Lomayestewa was the second rifle barrier. Cadet PFC Rachelle Takalah carried the national flag followed by Cadet 2nd Lt. Gabriella Tovar carrying the Arizona state flag. Cadet PFC Brandi Navenma was carrying the Hopi flag and Cadet 2nd Lt. Faylene Secakuku commanded.
"I am very excited to be the new commander for color guard next school year and look forward to making it an excelling year," Cadet 2nd Lt. Secakuku stated.
Cadet MSGT. Amber Naha's father said a quick prayer for the food and everybody enjoyed their meals.
At around 7:25 p.m. the Battalion Commander and staff spoke about their experiences in the JROTC program. When they were done, the 2009-2010 Battalion Executive Officer Cadet Maj. Whitney Damgaard welcomed the new staff members for the 2010-2011 school year. They each were recognized and awarded with their new ranks.
Cadet Lieutenant Colonel Marty Adams said, "The military ball was fun, exciting, and entertaining. When I got my new ranks and position, I was about to cry. It is an honor."
Afterwards, the Senior Army Instructor Major (retired) Phillip S. Taylor also welcomed the new staff members and cadets, and bid farewell to the seniors. The Army Instructor Sgt. 1st Class (retired) Kevin L. Nance honored the cadets, parents, and new staff members as well. He then introduced Special Guest Speaker, Eugene "Geno" Talas from Moencopi.
Talas is an Air Force Veteran who served for 30 years and retired as a Chief Master Sergeant, which happens to be the highest enlisted rank in the military. He is also the Commander of American Legion Hopi Post No. 80. He shared his experiences with the cadets and how JROTC programs would really help cadets along the way, whether they are headed towards furthering their education, joining the military, or getting a job after high school.
The awards portion started at 8:20 p.m. The cadets were awarded for their achievements and successions throughout the school year.
The awards presented were the American Veterans of World War II, Korea, Vietnam (AMVETS), the noncommissioned Officers Association, The National Sojourners, The Military Order of the World Wars, The Military Order of the Purple Heart, The Military Officers Association of America, The Association of the U.S. Army, and the Celebrate Freedom Foundation of Embry Riddle Aeronautical University JROTC Award.
Cadets receiving awards included Cadet 2nd Lt. Keith David, Cadet Sgt. Elsha Dosela, Cadet 2nd Lt. Gabriella Tovar, and Cadet PFC Dion Sahneyah, Cadet Major Trisha Puhuyesva, Cadet Lieutenant Colonel Marty Adams, Cadet 2nd Lt. Lakayla Adams, Cadet 2nd Lt. Sheldon Nanacasia, Cadet LTC Dominique Halwood, Cadet Maj. Whitney Damgaard, Cadet PFC Brandi Navenma, Cadet PFC Branion Nahsonhoya, Cadet PFC Joseph Whittington, Cadet PFC Halli Lomayaktewa, Cadet PFC Morton Koinva, Cadet PFC Faylene Secakuku, Cadet PFC Patrice Wadsworth and Cadet PFC Brandi Navenma.
The awards were presented to the cadets by the SAI and AI, Hopi High Principal Glenn Gilman, the U.S. Army Cadet Command, 5th Brigade, and the JROTC program.
Cadet PFC Sunny Lomayestewa said, "It was my first military ball and it was fun! I did not know what to expect."
All of the cadets, who dedicated their time and presence to the four JROTC teams by participating in competitions and events, were awarded with trophies. The Color Guard team, the Drill Team, Raiders Team, and the Marksmanship Team was were all awarded.
The Hopi JROTC Color Guard retired the colors at 9 p.m. and everybody was dismissed for the night.