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By Erin Melwing
Competition was stiff at Henry County High School recently as eight cadets in the Air Force JROTC program went before a panel of four judges in hopes of being named Cadet of the Year.
Larry Farmer, a senior at Henry County High School, won the title and the coveted bragging rights as well.
Candidates are selected throughout the year based on Cadet of the Month results from September through April. There are six nominees per month and just one winner. The winners from each month are then considered for the Cadet of the Year in May, according to Colonel Mark Fassio.
Candidates are not based on one aspect, but rather as a whole on a person concept. Candidates for Cadet of the Year are asked a series of questions from four categories. There are several memory questions testing familiarity with cadet rules and regulations, several questions concerning the proper wear of a cadet uniform, marching and drill-related questions and an opinion question. All questions are created by Col. Fassio. Candidates are briefed on the criteria beforehand and are also judged on posture, uniform, and various other categories.
“I was confident. I thought I did very well, even though I knew I missed two or three questions,” Farmer said. “You can’t be too confident though, everybody who goes up knows what they’re doing.”
For Cadet of the Month, other cadets form the committee. However, the panel for Cadet of the Year consists of people from the community. Ruthie Smith, HCHS gifted and talented coordinator, Jerri Lynn Scott, Kentucky State Police dispatcher and “Corps Mom,” Donnie Tipton, vice chairman of the Henry County schoolboard and Master Sergeant Larry McClure served on the board this year.
“He was very matter-of-the-fact, gave well-rounded answers, made good-eye contact and his uniform looked good,” MSgt. McClure said.
The competition was fierce with the second highest ranking cadet only .9 points behind Farmer’s score, according to Col. Fassio.
“For Farmer, it was a combination of experience and application,” Col. Fassio said. “Experience in the fact that he knew how to look and how to act and application in that he knew what to study to win.”
Farmer is the May Flight Commander and served as Group Commander first semester. He is also currently the track and field team captain.
“He has taken his struggles and turned them into something good,” Master Sgt. McClure said. “He’s confident, courteous, selfless. If he only had one piece of pie, he would be willing to share it with you.”
Currently, 66 students ranging freshmen through senior are involved in the JROTC program at HCHS. Students benefit from the program in numerous ways, according to Farmer.
“As long as you do what you’re told and try to go above and beyond, you’ll be put in situations that help you succeed,” Farmer said. “JROTC has completely changed me as a person. I’ve always been the semi-class clown, but it changed that. You have to give orders, learn to take and give criticism, stand up in front of people and learn to be a leader.”
Farmer will attend Brescia University in Owensboro this fall on a cross country scholarship.
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