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Two seniors in the NJROTC program at Cherokee High School have been awarded a Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps scholarship to the University of Memphis valued at $180,000.

Cadet Commander Shelby Johnson and Cadet Commander Tayler Bledsoe were notified by the Naval Service Training Command (NSTC) Selection/Placement Office on April 21st that they were selected for a United States Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps scholarship to the University of Memphis.

As the largest single source of Navy and Marine Corps officers, the NROTC Scholarship Program fills a vital need in preparing mature young men and women for leadership and management positions in an increasingly technical Navy and Marine Corps. Upon completion of their 4-year degree program, midshipmen Shelby Johnson and Tayler Bledsoe will be commissioned at the rank of Ensign in the United States Navy.

The NROTC scholarship will cover full tuition at their selected university for four years. In addition, educational fees, uniforms, and a $250 per month tax-free subsistence allowance are paid by the Navy for midshipmen on scholarship while in attendance at the university as a freshman (+$50/month each additional year; i.e., $300, $350, and $400). The students are also given a $750 textbook stipend every year, which is deposited in equal payments at the beginning of each academic term.  The NROTC program also pays for scholarship students’ transportation from home to summer cruise training.  Altogether, the textbook stipend, travel payments, and summer cruise pay over a four year period of full scholarship amount up to $180,000.

Cadet Commander Shelby Johnson

Cadet Shelby Johnson was selected from a pool of highly qualified cadets for the 2015 Cherokee Battalion Commanding Officer position and has excelled in this capacity, leading up to 200 cadets for 1ST semester. While at Cherokee, Cadet Johnson has sought out the more difficult honors classes including: honors Physical Science, honors English, honors Geometry, honors Biology, honors Algebra I and II, honors Chemistry, Advanced Alg. / Trig, Pre-Calculus, honors Economics, honors Spanish I and II, honors World History, honors U.S. Government, and Naval Leadership College Class through Adams State College.

During the month of September 2015, Cadet Commander Shelby Johnson led Cherokee High School NJROTC cadets to go out into the community and collect donations for the Wreaths Across America™ project, an endeavor aimed at providing live wreaths for veterans’ graves in local communities. With an original goal of 100 wreaths, community donations surpassed and quadrupled, reaching a total of 493 wreaths sponsored and $7,395.00 donated. During the months of October and November 2015, Cadet Johnson spear-headed the NJROTC can food drive that yielded 2,095 pounds of food for the Shepard’s Center food panty and helped many families throughout Hawkins County have food for the holidays. On December 12th, Cadet Johnson led a group of cadets to lay live wreaths on hundreds of veterans’ graves at Mountain Home National Cemetery in Johnson City. Cadet Johnson personally went out in the community and raised $390.00 for American Legion Post-21 to replace windows in their building.

During the Annual Military Inspection (AMI), NJROTC Area Nine Manager, CDR Merv Dial, praised Cadet Johnson’s leadership as Cherokee NJROTC received marks of “Outstanding” in every competitive category. Cadet Johnson is the youngest active member of VFW Post-5266 Ladies Auxiliary, serving as the Historian and aiding veterans. Her leadership acumen and remarkable attitude set the bar for “volunteerism” within Cherokee High School’s NJROTC program. She has personally completed 667 hours of community service while in NJROTC, and has successfully led the Cherokee Battalion’s accumulation of 6,214 hours of people oriented, environmentally oriented, and school support activities for the year.

While serving in her NJROTC class, Cadet Shelby Johnson has been an active member of the following NJROTC teams: Athletic, Drill, Orienteering, Academic, and Air Rifle. Her Cherokee High School sports include: JV Track Team 9th grade, Varsity Track Team 10th grade, Varsity Track 11th grade, Varsity Soccer 12th, and community AYSO Soccer for Rogersville.

Cadet Johnson’s #1 NROTC choice was the University of Memphis, she plans on majoring in Electrical Engineering. 

Cadet Commander Tayler Bledsoe

Cadet Commander Tayler Bledsoe took over as the Cherokee NJROTC Battalion Commander in December 2015. Prior to her new position, Bledsoe served as the Battalion Supply Officer, directly responsible for all cadet uniforms and supplies valued at approximately $105,000.00. Cadet Bledsoe keep academic records and wrote reports, lead subordinates, guided, and directed up to 200 cadets each academic semester.

When school started back, Cadet Bledsoe fitted over 70 new Naval Science One cadets with uniforms by the second week of classes, alleviating wasted time and proceeding on to uniform inspections for new cadets. During the Annual Military Inspection (AMI), cadet Bledsoe inventoried, organized, and presented all minor property and supplies to be accounted for to the NJROTC Area Nine Manager and her efforts paid off as Cherokee received “Exceeds Standards” marks on supply requisitions, receipts, storage, issue, and minor property inventory.

Last May, Cadet Bledsoe was awarded the Military Order of the Purple Heart JROTC Medal for her outstanding unit service and demonstrated leadership ability. To be eligible for this prestigious award the cadet must: (a) have a positive attitude toward NJROTC and a love of their country, (b) hold a current leadership position in the cadet corps, (c) be active in school and community affairs, (d) attain a letter grade of “B” or better in for the previous semester, and (e) not have been a pervious recipient of this award.

Cadet Tayler Bledsoe was selected by Officer in charge to serve as NJROTC Area Nine East Cadet Cadre Instructor training more than 150 selected NJROTC cadets in the Area Nine East Leadership Academy. Cadet Bledsoe was directly responsible to the academy commander for leadership training of selected cadets for their roles in their respective units, enhancing their basic attitudes, knowledge and skills required to practice the art of leadership.

At Bristol Motor Speedway, Cadet Bledsoe led a joint unit opportunity in a multi-unit, multi-service, 100 cadet Big Flag Color Guard for the start of the Bristol Motor Speedway NASCAR Food City 500®.

Cadet Bledsoe’s #1 NROTC choice is the University of Memphis and wants to major in Biology and Life Science.

Clyde H. Shumate, Ed. S.,
Chief Warrant Officer USN (Ret).
Senior Naval Science Instructor
Cherokee High School NJROTC

It is the policy of the Hawkins County School System not to discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, or disability in its educational programs or employment policies as required by Title VI and VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Equal Pay Act of 1963, Title IX (1972 Educational Amendments), Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and the Americans with Disabilities Act.