Mobile County Public Schools promoted its top JROTC cadets into countywide leadership roles on Friday.
The brigade commanders for the 2018-19 school year are:
- William Skull of Baker High as Brigade Commander
- Ja’Kyla Lewis of Murphy High as Brigade Command Sergeant Major
- Charles Cartee of Bryant High as Honorary Deputy Brigade Commander
- Nathan McGregor of Vigor High as Honorary Deputy Brigade Commander
- Melanie Yell of MGM as Honorary Deputy Brigade Commander
“These are the future leaders of our nation,” said Lt. Col. Robert “Frank” Barrow, who is over all JROTC programs in Mobile County Public Schools. “These are our future mayors, our future governors, our future lawyers and our future doctors.”
Several of the students have already earned enough college credit to enroll as sophomores in college. One is already a soldier in the Army National Guard. They are all leaders at their schools and are students that their peers look up to.
“We know you are going to do great things in your future and we are here to support you,” said Deputy Superintendent of Academics Dr. Lakesha Brackins.
Two candidates from each of Mobile County Public Schools’ 12 high schools competed for these positions. These five cadets will lead a total of about 1,800 JROTC students throughout the district.
“This is a really big moment,” Skull said as he thanked his family and instructors who helped him get to this position. Skull, whose older brother was also a JROTC leader, has already qualified to graduate from Baker High School with an AP Capstone diploma and has attended classes at the University of Alabama. “I’ve come a long way.”
JROTC instructors joked that when Lewis joined a few years ago, her nickname was “Giggles.” But now she has a commanding voice as she leads her peers, and she successfully balances being on the JROTC and band color guards. She is enrolled in Murphy’s UA Early College program.
“I feel that for this position, the same thing will happen as it did when I became Command Sergeant Major at my school,” Lewis said. “It seems like it is going to be a hard position, but I will get it down.”
Cartee completed basic training at Fort Benning this summer.
“Nothing is strong enough to stop the human spirit,” Cartee told his fellow JROTC students during the ceremony, including a group of younger students who came to watch. “If you want something, go for it.”
McGregor is the first brigade leader to come from Vigor High School in several years. He is in the band and is an ambassador at his school. “There’s positivity in this room,” he said. “Everyone in here is going to go far.”
Yell is a tough JROTC cadet whom Barrow thinks will be one of the rare women to complete Ranger school one day. “I will do my best in this position,” she said, “and I will always go as far as I can.”