Celebrating The Cadet of the Year: Dedicated To Academics, Leadership, Service and School Involvement

June 16, 2022

Congratulations to Cadet Colonel Van-Ainsley Planchar (pictured right holding check) for being named Broward County Public Schools (BCPS) Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (JROTC) Cadet of the Year. Van-Ainsley, a junior at Piper High School, has participated in JROTC for three years. The awards ceremony took place at Pompano Beach High School on May 20, 2022.

Thirty-one cadets – one from each high school – were vying for the honor of being named BCPS JROTC Cadet of the Year. The cadets were evaluated on their academic performance, demonstrated leadership, community service and school involvement, as well as their JROTC participation. The remaining top finishers were runner-up Cadet Ashleigh Madar from Cooper City High School and Distinguished Cadets Anivens Jean-Louis from Boyd Anderson High School, Johnathan Onesemiuc from Hollywood Hills High School, Edward Garcia from Nova High School, Ashley Oliveira from Pompano Beach High School and Maraisa Carrion from South Broward High School.

The JROTC Cadet of the Year and finalists received scholarships with a combined total of $5,000. In addition, five schools received $1,000 each to support their JROTC programs. The monetary awards were sponsored by Geico – Fort Lauderdale and the Broward County JROTC Support Association.

The JROTC partnership between the U.S. Department of Defense and BCPS is completing its 49th year and has served more than 200,000 JROTC cadets. This school year, more than 6,000 students participated in JROTC programs Districtwide, sponsored by all four branches of the military.

The Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (JROTC) is one of the largest character development and citizenship programs for youth in the world. The National Defense Act of 1916 established organized JROTC programs at public and private educational institutions. In 1964, Congress expanded the program to all military services and changed from active duty to shared support from the services and schools. As congressionally mandated by Title 10 United States Code, Section 2031, each military service must have a JROTC program to "instill in students in United States secondary educational institutions the values of citizenship, service to the United States, and personal responsibility and a sense of accomplishment." JROTC’s mission, "To Motivate Young People to be Better Citizens," is the guidepost for the program’s success.

Broward County Schools has the largest JROTC program in the nation with a program in every traditional high school. There are twenty-nine programs, consisting of all services, and two Entrepreneur and Leadership Academies (ELMA), located at Hollywood Hills H.S., which opened in 2015 and Boyd Anderson H.S., which opened in the Fall of 2020.

The graduation rate of the seniors remains at 99%, with 61% entering college or universities, and 21% entering the military. In addition to those entering the military, 18% of the cadets are accepted into our prestigious military service academies and Senior ROTC programs. For the fourth year in a row, Broward County JROTC program hosts the only summer camp of its kind where eligible cadets earn college credits. Each summer over 370 cadets participate in the STEM camp with 21% earning college credit and 100% earning First Aid and CPR Certifications. At the end of the year Broward County cadets will perform over 110,000 service hours covering all the cities in Broward County. In addition to supporting the local communities, 34% of the cadets participate in four County level events throughout the school year while accomplishing the mission of “motivating young people to be better citizens.”

As JROTC students (Cadets) matriculate through the program, they experience opportunities to lead other Cadets. Successful completion of two years of JROTC class waives the full one credit physical education requirement AND the full one credit performing arts requirement. The JROTC faculty is led by 65 instructors, who are retired from active duty, reserve duty, or the National Guard. Instructors are trained and qualified in accordance with the National Defense Authorization Act 2007 to teach and mentor approximately 6,000 JROTC Cadets annually.

To watch highlights of the BCPS JROTC Cadet of the Year ceremony visit https://www.eduvision.tv/l?etRAgLg

If you would like to learn more about the District’s JROTC programs visit: https://www.browardschools.com/jrotc

About Broward County Public Schools
Broward County Public Schools (BCPS) is the sixth-largest school district in the nation and the second largest in the state of Florida. BCPS is Florida’s first fully accredited school system since 1962, serving more than 256,000 students and approximately 110,000 adult learners in 241 schools, centers and technical colleges, and 91 charter schools. BCPS supports a diverse student population representing 170 different countries and speaking 147 languages. To connect with BCPS, visit: https://www.browardschools.com/ follow us on Twitter @browardschools, on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/browardschools and download the free BCPS mobile app.