UNION — The Union County High School JROTC Yellow Jacket Battalion conducted its annual fall commissioning ceremony on Sept. 11 during which non-commissioned officers were commissioned to officer rank and currently serving officers were promoted.
The guest speaker was Principal Floyd Lyles. Lyles is a native of Carlisle and graduated from Union High School. He graduated from Benedict College with a bachelor’s degree in elementary education and received a master’s degree in elementary education from Converse College, as well as a K-12 Education Specialist Degree.
Lyles was a teacher at Excelsior Middle School for six years, served as assistant principal at Union High School for two years, and principal of Jonesville Elementary/Middle School for four years. He is currently principal of Union County High School.
Lyles spoke to the cadets about personal goal setting and determination. He exemplified values that the battalion aims to achieve. He told the cadets to “stay different,” and told them to keep up their good work.
The following cadets were promoted this year:
Rebekah Kayce Edwards is a senior and in her fourth year of JROTC. She is a member of the National Technical Honor Society, Future Farmers of America, and Arthur Sate Bank Junior Board of Directors.
Kayce is a member of the UCHS Varsity Soccer Team where she serves as goalie, the UCHS Marching Band where she has been playing tuba for four years, and a member of the UCHS Varsity Wrestling Team. She has been a faithful member of JCREW, Philippi Baptists’ performing youth group. After high school, she plans to pursue early childhood education at USC Upstate or Winthrop University.
Her rank was pinned on by her mother, Lynn Edwards, and her father, Eddie Edwards.
Avery Spencer Hyatt is a senior and in his fourth year in JROTC. He is the commander of Alpha Company.
He was a George C. Marshall Leadership Team primary in 2011-12 and attended the national symposium last summer. He is the assistant commander of the Raider Team. He placed third in the Daniel Morgan Raider Challenge in the male/female team category in 2010. He is also a member of Drill Team, Color Guard, and Jedi Knights. He attended Junior Cadet Leadership Challenge at Fort Jackson in 2011 and placed in the top 5 percent of 893 cadets. Last summer he attended the RYLA, a rotary sponsored leadership camp.
Avery is a member of Interact and the National Technical Honor Society, is the president of FFA and attends Bogansville United Methodist Church. He plans to attend the Citadel and major in criminal justice. After college he plans to serve in the U.S. Marine Corps.
His rank was pinned on by his father, Roger Hyatt, and his mother, Vickie Hyatt.
The following cadets were commissioned:
Robert Andrew McGee is a senior and in his third year as a JROTC cadet. He will take on the duties of Battalion Executive Officer.
He is a member of the Jedi Knights, National Honor Society, National Technical Honor Society and Interact. He is on the varsity football team and is also the active Raider Team Commander. He has received the Superior Cadet Award and American Legion Award for Military Excellence. Andrew is an honor roll student, a graduate from Junior Cadet Leadership Challenge 2011 and Palmetto Boy’s State 2012, and an active member of the youth at Philippi Baptist Church.
After high school, he plans to attend either Charleston Southern University or Spartanburg Methodist University for prerequisites to a Physical Therapy Degree and plans to serve in Armed Forces.
Pinning on his rank was his father, Robert Wayne McGee, and his mother, Stephanie Edwards.
Lucas Alan Kelley is in his fourth and final year in JROTC. He joined JROTC in hopes of being changed into a leader who can be looked up to and respected. As he progressed, he realized there were many more reasons than improving himself. He realized that this is the best way he can help others become future leaders and better citizens.
His accomplishments include being on the four-person team that went to Washington, D.C., for the 2011 George C. Marshall Leadership and Academic Symposium. This team achieved second place out of approximately 1,700 schools across the nation.
His rank was pinned on by his grandmother, Mabel Lamore, and his father, Larry Kelley.
Michael Mayo Leigh is a junior and in his third year in JROTC. He will be take on the duties of the Battalion S-1.
He is a member of the National Technical Honor Society and is the captain of the Drill Team and George C. Marshall Leadership Team. Michael is also a member of the Union County High School Marching band, where he plays mellophone, and a novice student at the Union Karate Center.
After high school, Michael plans to pursue a degree in mechanical engineering at either Norwich University or Clemson University. He plans to participate in Senior ROTC and commission as an officer in the Army Corps of Engineers.
His rank was pinned on by his father, David Leigh, and his brother, William Leigh.
Ethan Christian Pendleton is a junior and in his third year in JROTC, having spent one year in Marine JROTC and two in Army JROTC. He will take on the duties of Battalion S-3.
He is a captain of the varsity wrestling team and participates on the cross-country team, as well as the Raider team. He is a graduate of JCLC 2012 and a member of First Baptist Church Union, where his father is the pastor. He hopes to attend Newberry or Limestone College on a wrestling scholarship, and participate in ROTC. After college he plans to pursue a career in the military.
His rank was pinned on by his father, Rick Pendleton, and his mother, Donna Pendleton.
Hannah Noel Hartley is a junior and in her third year in JROTC. She will be taking on the duties of Battalion S-5.
She is a member of Future Farmers of America, National Honor Society, and Ultimate Rhythm Dance Company. She is the current JROTC Color Guard Commander and George C. Marshall Academic Team Captain. She attends New Beginnings Church in which she is a preschool teacher and a nursery worker. After high school, she plans to attend Duke University to attain a degree in Law.
Her rank was pinned on by her mother, Lisa Hartley, and her father, Scott Hartley.
Alana Dion Wright is a junior and in her third year in JROTC. She will take on the duties of the Battalion S-4.
She is a member of the National Technical Honor Society, the Interact Club, Fellowship of Christian Athletes, and the George C. Marshall Leadership Team. She is in the UCHS Marching Band in which she has been playing the trumpet for four years. She attends Buffalo United Methodist Church where she is a part of the adult choir, the hand-bell choir and youth group. After high school Alana plans to attend USC Upstate where she will receive a degree in the Mary Black School of Nursing.
Her rank was pinned on by her father, Keith Wright, and her sister, former Cadet Captain Dona Nena Wright.
Mitchell Lee Ward is a senior and in his fourth year of JROTC. This year he will take on the duties of the Battalion S2.
Mitchell is captain of the UCHS rifle team and has attended three CMP national competitions, once at Camp Perry Ohio and twice at Anniston, Ala. He is also a member of the National Technical Honor Society. After graduation he plans to attend Wofford College.
His rank was pinned on by his father, John Ward, and his brother, Nicholas Ward.