The Michigan City High School (MCHS) Marine Corps Junior Reserve Officer Training
Corps (MJROTC) conducted an awards ceremony at the high school on May 8th. Cadets were
recognized for service to the community and school, for superior performance in JROTC and
school extracurricular activities, and outstanding academic achievement. Many representatives
of veterans and civic organizations attended to personally present their awards.
Major Tom McGrath, the Senior Marine Instructor, noted the high number of parents who
attended. “The great attendance of parents, who also brought a significant amount of food for
the celebration of their sons and daughters, shows what they think of our program.”
The Marine Instructor, Master Sergeant Jeff Benak, echoed the interest that parents
have for JROTC. “We have a great group of kids whose enthusiasm for all of our activities has
spread to their parents.”
Among those activities are the MCHS military Drill Team, the Raider Team, and the
CyberPatriot Team. Cadet Captain Marcus Mantel earned the American Legion Military medal
for his extraordinary performance on the Drill Team, as he commanded four different units,
requiring him to memorize four different drill cards. He plans on serving in the Marine Corps,
specifically in Force Reconnaissance. Cadet 2nd Lieutenant Alexandra Reed earned the Sons
of the American Revolution medal as the top female cadet. That award was accompanied with a
check for $1000.00. Reed plans on attending college on an ROTC scholarship (worth
$180,000.00) and serving as a Cyber Security Officer. Cadet Staff Sergeant Daniel Kohn
earned the Marine Corps League medal as the best sophomore cadet. Kohn was a stalwart
performer on the Raider team. He plans on attending the U.S. Naval Academy ( education
valued at $350,000.00) and serving as a Navy SEAL officer. Other individual awardees were:
-Cadet Corporal Aiden Gorden earned the Veterans of Foreign Wars medal as the best
male cadet;
-Cadet Corporal Peyton Downs earned the Daughters of the American Revolution as the
top female sophomore cadet;
– Cadet Gunnery Sergeant Ann Sawyer earned the Women Marine medal for
extraordinary extracurricular activities. Sawyer is the top hitter in the Duneland Athletic
Conference softball league;
-Cadet Staff Sergeant Jaiden Sledd earned the American Legion Scholastic medal for
having the best grade point average;
-Cadet Staff Sergeant Savannah Timm earned the Daughters of 1812 for working the
most community service hours;
-Cadet 2nd Lieutenant Matthew Wilson earned the Military Officers Association of
America award for superior endurance and overcoming adversity. Wilson was in a serious car
accident during the winter. He made an exceptionally fast recovery and amazingly has already
returned to school and is catching up on all of the school work he missed.
The cadets have no time to rest on their laurels. They will continue to support
community and school organizations, to include the MCHS graduation on June 2nd. They will
also be marching in the Michigan City Memorial Day parade and participating in the Memorial
Day ceremony at Greenwood Cemetery. Cadets will be preparing for next year’s Drill and
Raider seasons by participating in conditioning sessions over the summer. They will also be
sending cadets to national Drill and Cyber camps over the summer. All of these activities are
done at no cost to MCHS or the cadets. All costs are covered by the Marine Corps