The Houston Independent School District will honor the top six JROTC cadets from the class of 2013 during the annual Final Review and Awards ceremony. The top cadets were chosen among all graduating seniors in HISD’s 25 JROTC programs and have been promoted to the rank of Cadet Colonel, the highest rank in the JROTC program. Those cadets will be featured leading their respective command groups.
Reviewing officer and keynote speaker Marquis Alexander was on hand when HISD’s Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (JROTC) program honored its top six cadets from the Class of 2012 on April 21. Alexander, who was recently selected as the commander for the 2012-2013 Texas A&M University’s Corps of Cadets, and his fellow cadets from Texas A&M University served as the selection board for this year’s HISD JROTC competition.
The top six graduating seniors from the class of 2012 are:
Corps Commander (Top Graduate)
Cadet Colonel Ron-Joseph Lastimosa
Lamar High School
Cadet Colonel Ron-Joseph Lastimosa is ranked in the top three percent of his graduating class with a grade point average of 4.67. The International Baccalaureate diploma candidate is a member of the National Honor Society, French Club, Spanish Club, and Student Council. He is also active in the Boy Scouts of America.
Cadet Colonel Lastimosa placed first out of 25 competitors all four years in the Outstanding Cadet Qualification Board competitions. He has been awarded the Superior Cadet medal four times and he is a two-time recipient of both the George C. Marshall Award for Academic Achievement and Leadership and the Douglas MacArthur Leadership Award. He has been a member of the Junior Leadership and Academic Bowl team that competed at the national finals inWashingtonD.C.twice. At the 2011 competition, Cadet Lastimosa’s team placed fifth in the nation out of 1,710 schools.
Cadet Colonel Lastimosa serves as captain of the Lamar Marksmanship Team. He is also a member of the Lamar Organizational Color Guard and his church’s youth group. He has held a part time job at the Chocolate Bar since his sophomore year.
Cadet Lastimosa plans to major in investment management at theUniversityofTexasinAustin, from which he has already received a Business Honors Scholarship.
First Brigade Commander (#2 Graduate)
Cadet Colonel Veronica Zaragoza
Waltrip High School
Cadet Colonel Veronica Zaragoza has been an active Cadet in the JROTC program for four years. Cadet Zaragoza, with a GPA of 3.83, is ranked number 31 out of 375 students in her graduating class. Cadet Zaragoza has served as president of the National Honor Society and commander of the Waltrip JROTC Varsity Female Physical Training Team. She volunteers at the K2 Academy of Kids Sports, a facility for special needs children. Cadet Zaragoza plans to attendUniversityofTexasatAustinand major in social work.
Second Brigade Commander (#3 Graduate)
Cadet Colonel Nallely Prudencio
High School for Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice
Cadet Colonel Nallely Prudencio is ranked fourth out of 123 graduating seniors with a grade point average of 4.00. She serves as president of the Business Professionals of America and the Student Council. She is also a member of the National Honor Society, the National Latino Peace Officers Association, the JROTC Academic Team, the Battalion Unarmed Drill Team, and the Houston Leadership for Tomorrow (a service organization). Cadet Colonel Prudencio has been awarded the Superior Cadet Medal for the last two years, and has placed in the Military Qualification Board competition two years straight. She plans to attendGeorgetownUniversity, where she will pursue a degree in computer security.
Third Brigade Commander (#4 Graduate)
Cadet Colonel Thesly Imboden
Reagan High School
Cadet Colonel Thesly Imboden scored one of the highest SAT scores ever earned by a student from her campus. She is currently ranked 19th of 456 seniors in her graduating class and she holds a GPA of 4.09. Cadet Colonel Imboden plans to attend theUniversityofTexasto pursue a degree in communications. She serves as chief editor of the school newspaper, and she is a member of the National Honor Society, the Reagan High School Leadership Council. She is also active in the Peer Assistance and Leadership (PALS) program, which performs community service projects.
Fourth Brigade Commander (#5 Graduate)
Cadet Colonel Cristian Buitrago
Bellaire High School
Cadet Colonel Cristian Buitrago has a grade point average of 4.17. He is a member of the National Honor Society, Operation Military Children, and the Army Reserve Team Panel. He also serves as captain of the JROTC Physical Fitness Team, a counselor for Speak Out for Military Kids, and a representative of the US Army 75th Reserve Division’s Family Readiness Group at Ellington Field. After graduation, Cadet Colonel Buitrago will attend theUnited StatesMilitaryAcademyatWest Point.
Fifth Brigade Commander (#6 Graduate)
Cadet Colonel Merline Gonzalez
Scarborough High School
Cadet Colonel Merline Gonzalez has a GPA of 4.1 and is her class valedictorian. She serves as president of the National Honor Society, and she is a member of the Environmental Club, the Student Council, the varsity soccer team, the Lady Spartans Unarmed drill team, and the Spartans Physical Fitness Team. She is also active as a peer tutor and a ninth grade mentor. Cadet Colonel Gonzalez has been awarded the Superior Cadet medal three times. Following graduation, she plans to attend theUniversityofHouston, where she will major in communications.