by Rick Winterson
South Boston Online was honored to receive an invitation to the 2017 Knight’s Battalion Award Ceremony last Wednesday afternoon, May 31. It was an occasion filled with military courtesy, vivid colors, and achievement. Most especially, it was an afternoon devoted to honoring the JROTC Cadets, who have demonstrated their devotion to this program at Excel High School.
The contingent of which all of South Boston’s EXCEL High School Cadets are members is formally named the South Boston Army JROTC Knights Battalion. “JROTC” stands for Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps; “Knights” refers to the historic name of students and their teams at EXCEL High School. The cadre of the JROTC Program at EXCEL includes Lt. Col. Anthony Hinson (USA, Ret.) and Sgt. 1C George Machado (USA, Ret.). The EXCEL High School Headmaster is Dr. Stephanie Sibley.
The afternoon went by swiftly. The Awards got underway after the Colors were presented and posted. Pipe music by Kevin Conroy was followed by the Pledge and the National Anthem. A Manual of Arms that featured twirling, airborne rifles criss-crossing a swordsman was flawlessly performed. An excellent lunch was served.
The Awards were, of course, the focal point of the Ceremony. It was a fitting end to a year of achievement by the Knight’s Battalion of South Boston’s EXCEL JROTC contingent. And there were many, many Awards – far too many to list separately, in fact. Perhaps the Awards that most impressed this writer were those conferred upon the Cadets by Craig Martin from the nearby Michael J. Perkins School . Approximately 20 Cadets received Awards from the Perkins for their volunteer work at the School, while attending EXCEL High School and taking part in the JROTC Program there. They set a fine example for the younger students in the Perkins School.