Juniors Reyes and Pinckney, who will be promoted to the rank of cadet lieutenant colonel, were especially highlighted for their classroom leadership, academic excellence and volunteerism, said Brian Josten, the JROTC advisor of Mission Bay High, where over 50 cadets attend.
“They push the other cadets to do their best,” Josten said. “They’ve increased the cohesion of the unit, making sure everyone’s united. They ease out any rough spots that may pop up between cadets, and they’ve found ways to bring people together instead of tear people apart.”
Garcia-Perez, a senior, was recognized for being the top athlete in the San Diego Unified School District’s Joint Brigade.
“[Garcia-Perez] has been leading through example,” Josten said. “He’ll go out there and push other cadets physically and mentally.”
This has been a good year for the honorees.
“I’ve been able to see excellent cadets and I’ve made family,” said Reyes.
One of the ways they made family was by accepting the offer to spend their spring break in Washington, D.C. and Valley Forge with six other cadets in the district, and even more from across the nation. On the trip, they shared breakfast with Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and met Gen. Peter Chiarelli, vice chief of staff of the U.S. Army.
“They’re both good kids and they’ve taken advantage of the opportunities they’ve been given,” Josten said. “They don’t think they know all the answers and they’re open to listening to other kids. Those are very important leadership traits they continue to develop.”
Josten said that in addition to these traits, Reyes and Pinckney are focused, which is why they’ve been honored. Pinckney received the National Society of the Sons of the American Revolution bronze medal, and Reyes was given the Reserve Officers Association award for superior performance. Even more, they were among nine students selected to lead all the cadets among the San Diego district’s 13 schools.
Reyes will be the brigade executive officer, and his duties will include organizing communication between schools.
“I’m being given this opportunity to lead and show how much I can help others,” Reyes said.
Pinckney’s position will be J-2, in charge of intelligence, support and organizing events.
“This really prepares us for life,” Pinckney said.
After high school, Reyes and Pinckney plan to enter the U.S. Naval Academy under the marine option.
They are also applying to other colleges, where they said they intend to continue in ROTC programs. Garcia-Perez will graduate this week.