Jule F. Sumner HS Army JROTC Program

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LTC (ret) Melvin Aycock

LTC (ret) Melvin D. Aycock was born In Newnan, GA to a military family. His family has proudly served in all branches of the United States armed forces since the Civil War. LTC Aycock is a 1983 Graduate of Newnan High School in Newnan, GA. After graduation, LTC Aycock studied electrical engineering at Southern Polytechnical University and later transferred to Jacksonville State University where he received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Mass Communication with a concentration in television and radio production. LTC Aycock remained at Jacksonville State University earning a Master of Science degree in psychology. While a graduate student, LTC Aycock enrolled in the prestigious ROTC (Gamecock Battalion, a ROTC unit with the most career officers and General Officers in the country) program and was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant in December 1991 and received his master’s degree 5 months later in May 1992.

LTC Aycock served in the Army Reserves while completing his PH. D in clinical psychology from Emory University in 1997. LTC Aycock worked as a mental health therapist for 8 years until 9-11 happened. At this point, LTC Aycock said goodbye to his civilian career and came onto full active duty with the army serving as an Operations, Training and Intelligence officer until his retirement in October 2021. While in the military, LTC Aycock has had several U.S and worldwide deployments to include, Somalia, Kuwait, Iraq, Afghanistan, Kosovo and Germany.

LTC Aycock served in the J-3 at U.S Forces Command, FT Bragg, NC. LTC Aycock is a graduate of the Army Medical Department (AMEDD) Officer Basic Course, AMEDD Officer Advanced Course, Command and Staff Service School, Intermediate Leadership Education Course, the Army War College, Advanced Operations Warfighter Course, Department of Defense Strategy Course and Department of Defense Planners Course. LTC Aycock has spent over 30 years serving the nation and is the last in his family line to wear the uniform, ending a family service history of over 150 years.

LTC Aycock has been married to Sue Ann Aycock of Seattle, WA since 2008 and has a 13-year-old daughter Ashley. After taking a year off after retirement, LTC Aycock applied to be a Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps instructor and has been the Senior Army Instructor at Sumner High School since January 2023 where his service to the nation continues. His hobbies include, designing and installing home theaters, raising Japanese Koi, gardening and riding his motorcycle.

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Degrees and Certifications:

CWr Jefrey Blake (Ret.)

Chief Blake grew up in Kingston, Jamaica. He graduated from Fort Hays University with a bachelor’s degree in business studies, graduated from Bronx Community College with two Associates of Applied Science degrees in Electronics Technology and Automotive Technology, and he earned a two-year Diploma from The College of Arts, Science and Technology in Jamaica in Telecommunications. 

Chief Blake served in the US Army for 27 years. In 2004, he received his commission from the U.S. President through Warrant Officer Candidate School (WOCS) in Fort Rucker, Alabama.  During his career he served in many Battalions as the Battalion Maintenance Officer (BMO), and achieved many successes in the maintenance field including completing a 2007-2008 tour in Iraq.  He served on active duty in the U.S. Army, the U.S. Army Reserves, and the New York National Guard.  His overseas assignments include tours in Panama, Egypt and Germany.  CW4 Blake currently serves as an Army Instructor for the Sumner High School JROTC Program.

Chief Blake is married to Carlene and is the father of four children.  He decided to move from the cold northeast to enjoy the great weather of Florida.

  • Program Overview

    Sumner High School has a fully funded Army JROTC program. Cadets particpate in the daily morning and afternoon flag ceremony.  Our Honor Guard will be present at special occasions such as half staffing of the American Flag, parades and exhibitions, visits to Senior ROTC programs, guest speakers from all service branches as well as leaders in  science, medical, engineering, robotics, public affairs and much more. 

    Our program falls under a more comprehensive curriculum as provided by Army Cadet Command which will be more comprehensive but also more fun. At Sumner HS we call our program the Leadership Academy with five levels where we will teach leadership, communication, teamwork, leadership labs and important life lessons.

    We are NOT building students to go into the military, but building leaders for the future in whatever vocations they may choose.  Our program teaches life lessons.  JROTC will also have a focus on writing and public speaking. We will continue to build and maintain the Cadet Garden located in the center of campus.  

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Announcements

  • Sumner HS JROTC Cadets Toys4Tots

     

    U.S Marine Corps has provided toys to less fortunate children since 1947 through a program called Toys for Tots. Toys for Tots is an annual event in hundreds of locations throughout the country.

    This year, the Sumner JROTC program showed its school pride and community support by participating in this year’s toys distribution. On 16 December Sumner High School JROTC cadets sacrificed their Saturday in the pouring rain, wind and cold to support a greater purpose…. SACRIFICE.

    Cadets oversaw the gathering and distribution of thousands of toys to hundreds of families. Through their constant display of teamwork and dedication to our community, Sumner High School’s JROTC cadets represented the best of selfless service, which is one of the Army’s core principles.

    These cadets are hereby awarded the Volunteer Service Ribbon (N-4-5) for their actions and deeds.

    The cadets participating in this year’s Toys for Tots drive:

    1. William Alamo III
    2. Angel Bianchi
    3. Sean Brown
    4. Junior Diouf
    5. Firdaws Ezekiel
    6. Marie Gabriel
    7. Madelynn Gilbertson
    8. Luis Gonzalez
    9. Julian Guirales
    10. Alexis Hall
    11. Annahi Heredia
    12. Michael Hergenreder
    13. Alex Johnson
    14. Kaydence Johnson
    15. Nicholus Lahmon
    16. Kimaya Mays
    17. Quesli Mejia
    18. Iliana Perez
    19. Maiya-Lynne Perez
    20. Victoria Saint-Remy
    21. Frank White

     

    Stingray Battalion Booster President:  Areli Perez

    Senior Army Instructor LTC Aycock

    Assistant Instructor CW4 Blake

    Volunteer Ashley Aycock (LTC Aycock’s Daughter)

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  • November Cadets of the Month

     

    Cadet Captain Kaydence Johnson. Cadet Johnson has been in the Sumner JROTC program from its start. Cadet Johnson has seen the program grow, struggle, almost collapse and finally reorganized as a cost share fully funded program. Through the years of turmoil and change, Cadet Johnson remained steadfast in the program with the wish that one day things would get better. She has had many company and battalion leadership positions and is currently the Assistant S-4 in the supply and logistics section. Cadet Johnson has been an unbelievably valuable resource when it comes to getting organizational clothing and equipment distributed. Cadet Johnson organized the supply areas for both garrison and field uniforms. Cadet Johnson eagerly surrendered her time (coming before school, during her lunch breaks and after school) to make sure that cadets had the right and proper fitting uniform. Initiative is an internal motivation that few put into action. Cadet Johnson is a self-starter and works well with leadership, teams, and organizations. Cadets like Cadet Captain Kaydence Johnson are the backbone of the JROTC program for they care about the long-term survival and health of the organization. In light of these achievements and her continued dedication to the Sumner High School JROTC program, Cadet Captain Kaydence Johnson is awarded the Senior Army Instructor Leadership Award (N-3-1) and selected as Cadet of the Month.

     

    Cadet Captain Iliana Pérez (N-3-1). Cadet Perez is an extraordinarily strong member of the Sumner JROTC and has served in many roles over the years. Cadet Perez is what is known as a Utility Officer. She can blend into and run any staff section, from personnel, to finance to operations. She is knowledgeable and flexible on all occasions. She has been instrumental with fund raising efforts, color guard requests, honor guard presentations and the Junior Cadet Sponsorship Program whereby the Leadership Education and Training (LET-1 and LET-2) cadets are sponsored by LET 3 and LET 4 cadets. These sponsors teach, coach and mentor the younger cadets, making sure that they are wearing the uniform correctly as well as uniform care. Cadet Perez sits on the SAI advisory board, providing feedback, initiatives, and activities for the program. She is the conduit for information flow between the corps of cadets and the Army Instructors. Cadet Perez has boundless energy and is always eager to help where she can. Cadet Perez has maturity and focus well beyond her years. In light of these qualities and her continued dedication to the program, Cadet Captain Iliana Perez is awarded the Senior Army Instructor Award (N-3-1) and selected as Cadet of the Month.

     

    Cadet Private Haliegh Gomez. Cadet Gomez is a rising star in the program. She is highly motivated to learn and freely gives her time. She is in the 9th grade​‌ but performing as a Junior. She is active in all fund raising activities and blends in well with the S-8 staff. She stands out among her peers and is eager to pass on what she has learned to them. Cadet Gomez eagerly comes before and after school to help in the program. She is the "new breed" of cadets entering the program and one of the key leaders for the future. In light of these qualities and her demonstrated leadership potential, Cadet Private Haleigh Gomez is awarded the Senior Army Instructor Award (N-3-1) and selected as Cadet of the Month.

     

    Cadet Private Sean Brown. Cadet Brown is another rising star in the JROTC program. He has boundless energy and has participated in every event the program has offered to include the flag detail, football parking, car wash and serving as a runner on special details. Cadet Brown was the very first cadet to show up in uniform immediately after it was issued to him. Sean comes from a military family that makes sure he is setting himself up for future success. Sean wants to try everything the program has to offer and is looking forward to the Junior Cadet Leadership Challenge in June 2024. In light of his performance and demonstrated potential for positions of leadership, Cadet Private Sean Brown is promoted to Private First Class and awarded the Senior Army Instructor Award (N-3-1) and selected as cadet of the month for November 2023.

     

    Cadet Sergeant Chloe Swedlund. Cadet Swedlund has been in the JROTC program for 2 years now and has plans to complete 4 years in the program. Chloe is a quiet self-starter with a keen sense of purpose and focus. Like many others, Cadet Swedlund volunteers her time in the S-4 section (supply and logistics). After over one hundred uniforms were issued to cadets, Cadet Sergeant Swedlund took it upon herself to inventory, arrange and store the remaining uniforms and equipment in an organized and comprehensive manner. Any uniforms that were dirty or damaged are identified and sent out for cleaning / repairs. Additionally, Cadet Swedlund serves a dual purpose, being one of a few cadets in both the marching band and the JROTC program. We have seen Chloe show up before the football games for the parking detail, leave just before halftime to perform with the marching band, and after half time, return to the JROTC program to continue with fund raising activities. Cadet Swedlund is selfless and puts the well-being of others before herself. In light of her accomplishments and demonstrated potential for positions of greater responsibility, Cadet Chloe Swedlund is promoted to Staff Sergeant, awarded the Senior Army Instructor Impact Award (N-3-15), and selected as cadet of the month for November 2023.

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  • JROTC Rockstars on the ASVAB!

    During the most recent Armed Forces Vocational Aptitude Battery (A.S.V.A.B) offered on 25 September here at Sumner Highschool, the following students scored 50 and above.

    This is a special accomplishment as the following areas were assessed: Verbal Skills / Math Skills / Science and Technology / General Science / Arithmetic Reasoning / Word Knowledge / Paragraph Comprehension / Mathematics Knowledge / Electronic Information / Auto and Shop Information and / Mechanical Comprehension.

    The score outcomes are directly correlated to the level of learning taking place at this school. Teachers of Math, Science, Language Arts and FSA Reading should feel very proud as their students are shining brightly.

    The following students are receiving the A.S.V.A.B fifty and above ribbon as well as the Academic Excellence Arc to wear proudly on their uniforms.

    1. Henry Lilly 88
    2. Julian Guirales 86
    3. Angel Bianchi 81
    4. Michel Hergenreder 74
    5. Luis Gonzalez 73
    6. Liam Crawley 69
    7. Jaydan Guyette 68
    8. Alexis Hall 67
    9. Eli Lewis 63
    10. Jacob Claypool 62
    11. Nickolus Lahmon 55
    12. Amayra Evans 55
    13. Firdaws Ezekiel 53
    14. Jason Bell 50
    15. Alayla Houck 50

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  • October Cadets of the Month

    Cadet Command Sergeants Major William Alamo III. Cadet Alamo has successfully lead the Stingray Battalion in several school and community activities, to include the maintenance of the Cadet Garden, the Color Guard and the Honor Guard. Cadet Alamo is responsible for the overall training of the corps of cadets to include uniform inspections, maintenance of cadet equipment, the supervision of both garrison and field activities as well as setting academic standards for other cadets to follow. He is highly respected in the Sumner JROTC program and the Sumner Highschool student body. He is frequently praised by his teachers the school and the Hillsborough County administrators.  Cadet Alamo is a graduate of the National Flight Academy. His post highschool plans are to attend the Airforce Academy. In recognition of his efforts, leadership and accomplishments, Cadet Sergeants Major William Alamo III is awarded the Distinguished Cadet award (N-1-1), one of the highest JROTC awards possible.

     

    Cadet Major Marie Gabriel. Cadet Gabriel is the Personnel Manager of the Sumner Highschool Stingray Battalion. Cadet Gabriel is a fervent member of the command team and manages all personnel actions to include awards, decorations, promotion orders and staffing support. Cadet Gabriel has devised a record keeping system that tracks all policies, procedures, consent forms and dress codes. Cadet Gabriel is active in the color guard and the flag detail. Cadet Gabriel is also responsible for the planning and execution of the Military Ball and Awards Night. Both of these are major events that require a lot of time and effort as well as staff coordination with other sections. Cadet Gabriel will be conducting a class for all cadets on etiquette, military customs and courtesies, as well as managing military organizational awards from the American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars, Army Special Forces and others. For her dedication to the JROTC program, attention to detail and superior management abilities, Cadet Major Marie Gabriel is awarded the Senior Army Instructor  Leadership Award (N-3-1).

     

    Cadet Captain Frank White. Cadet White has been the backbone of the Supply and logistics section. He has devoted a tremendous amount of time organizing and cataloging all cadet uniforms worn in both garrison and field environments. The JROTC program recently received new uniforms, shoes, socks, T-shirts, belts etc. totaling over 85 thousand dollars of taxpayer funds. Cadet White has been steadfast in his records keeping, inventory sheets, hand receipts and outfitting each cadet. Cadet White has come before and stayed long after school is over to get the job done. Cadet white has a calm yet determined manner putting mission first over all other tasks. Cadet White has participated in all formations, activities, fund raisers and leadership training offered. Cadet White is a subject matter expert on supply and logistics at the JROTC level and is often requested to assist other cadets because of his knowledge and follow-through. In light of these qualities and demonstrated leadership abilities, Cadet Frank White is awarded the Senior Army Instructor Leadership award (N-3-1).

     

    Cadet Major Annahi Heredia. Cadet Heredia is the Stingray Battalion Comptroller (S-8). This is a very stressful and demanding staff position requiring unwavering attention to detail as well as the ability to make mathematical computations rapidly. Cadet Heredia manages both cash and electronic transactions for athletic events like football parking activities, fund raisers and donations to the program. Cadet Heredia is one of the first cadets in the Stingray Battalion and has dedicated four years of her life contributing to the building of the program. Cadet Heredia has an outstanding memory for details about the program and has been instrumental in the continuity of the program as Army Instructors came and left the program. Cadet Heredia manages a staff of 9 other cadets on the S-8 staff, and is key in the training and employment of her staff. Cadet Heredia has managed thousands of dollars with zero defects. She has managed budgets and contracts with outside vendors and reviews all actions with the senior staff instructors (LTC Aycock and CW4 Blake). Cadet Heredia is flexible and always ready to assist other staff sections. She has a take charge attitude and does not hesitate to make on the spot corrections when she sees something wrong. Cadet Heredia’s leadership has been outstanding. In light of these demonstrated leadership qualities and her dedication to the Sumner Highschool Stingray Battalion, Cadet Major Annahi Heredia is awarded the Distinguished Cadet Award (N-1-1).

    Cadet Sergeant First Class Firdaws Ezekiel. Cadet Ezekiel is the Non-Commissioned Officer in Charge (NCOIC) of the Honor Guard. She is responsible for the posting and retrieval of colors at all internal and external JROTC activities. She insures that training is conducted on drill and ceremonies, and that Honor Guard members present themselves in a neat and professional manner. Cadet Ezekiel has boundless energy for the JROTC program and can be counted on to get the job done. She was instrumental in building the Cadet Garden, working out in temperatures over 100 degrees in the hot and humid Florida sun. Cadet Ezekiel also attended the Junior Cadet Leadership Challenge over the summer. She endured long hours in an environment designed to stress cadets mentally, physically and emotionally. Many Cadets were not able to complete this challenge, but Cadet Ezekiel and other Sumner Cadets excelled, with many receiving top awards. Cadet Ezekiel has demonstrated outstanding growth in the program and is poised for positions of greater scope and responsibility. In light of her demonstrated leadership abilities and her dedication to the Sumner Highschool Stingray Battalion, Cadet Firdaws Ezekiel is awarded the Senior Army Instructor Leadership Award (N-1-1).

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  • September Cadets of the Month

    Noah Fisher:  (LET4) Cadet LTC Noah Fisher (Special Troops Commander) is responsible for the teaching, mentoring, and guiding the cadets in the LET 1 class during first period. Noah has successfully provided instruction on first aid, drugs and alcohol, nutrition, bullying,  and the cadet creed in addition to teaching our LET 1 cadet the basics of drill and ceremony and marching. Noah is the only LET 4 leader that has such an extensive position and has brought great credit on himself, Sumner High School and the Army Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps. Noah Fisher is awarded the SAI Leadership Ribbon (N-3-1).

     

    Dominic Battiato (LET 4) Cadet MAJ Diminic Battiato (Battalion S-6) has been instrumental in leveraging technology in the classroom. Dominic has successfully developed a communication network for the Battalion whereby information can be disseminated to all cadets at the push of a button to send out emails and text messages instantly. When information such as community service activities, training opportunities, testing dates etc. cadets can stay in the information loop without having to come by the classroom to find out. Additionally, Cadet Battiato wrote a computer program that makes it much easier to measure cadets for uniforms and distribute them faster. Dominic recently completed a cyber security course and is the only student in the JROTC program that has information technology certification. In light of the accomplishments, Cadet Dominic Battiato is awarded the SAI Leadership Ribbon (N-3-1).

     

    Camila Cartagena-Ibarra (LET 1) has demonstrated outstanding leadership and maturity. Her attention to detail, military bearing, and desire to succeed is an inspiration to other developing leaders. Cadet Cartagena is interested in applying to the Air Force Academy and is making strides to get her application packet in on time and without error.  The Sumner High School JROTC program was recently picked up as a cost share program by the Army Cadet Command. The program has been able to attract high quality cadets like Camila Cartagena and plans to build the program further by recruiting cadets such as Camila. In light of her accomplishments, Cadet Camila Cartagena is awarded the SAI Impact award (N-3-15).

     

    Alexis Hall (LET 3) has demonstrated initiative and leadership by leading the S-4 section in all areas of supply and logistics. Cadet Hall has identified, organized, and cataloged hundreds of pieces of equipment and uniforms. Cadet Hall was instrumental in organizing and maintaining our supply areas to always have them inspection ready. Cadet Hall leads a staff of 7 other cadets and makes sure that hand receipts are issued for all equipment going out to cadets and turned in after use. Since Cadet Hall stepped up and took charge of this section, equipment is distributed and tracked with zero defects in documentation. Cadets spend much less time waiting in line for uniforms and equipment and have more time for classroom instruction, community service and other opportunities to lead. In light of these accomplishments, Cadet Alexis Hall is awarded the SAI Leadership Ribbon (N-3-1)

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