BY AUBRIE GEORGE | The Marlton Telegram
For the first time, Lenape Regional High School District students, staff and alumni who are enlisted in the armed services, on active duty, serving in the guard or reserve, or are military veterans, will be honored in a district-wide awards ceremony.
Much like awards ceremonies held each year for students who excel in academics, the district plans to honor members of the class of 2010 who plan to enter the armed services or a military academy as well as district employees and alumni who currently serve in the guard or reserves or are veterans of the armed forces during the May ceremony.
District Assistant Superintendent Carol Birnbohm said the awards ceremony plans to honor a large presence in the district community who have served or will serve in the armed forces.
“Every year, not counting students that graduate from the JROTC program, we have about 25 students that enter the military or a military academy,” Birnbohm said.
In addition to that, Birnbohm said, the district also hosts a JROTC program at Lenape High School that has an army concentration. That program graduates 20 students each year who continue with ROTC while they’re in college.
Birnbohm said the district has implemented several school programs that cater to students interested in serving in the armed forces.
A program at Cherokee High School has a Navy concentration and the Board of Education has recently approved the implementation of a program at Seneca High School with an Air Force concentration.
“We anticipate in a few years, once those students now graduate, they’ll be part of that cohort as well,” Birnbohm said.
Those programs, Birnbohm said, are funded by grants from the federal government.
The awards ceremony will feature keynote speaker Lt. Daniel J. Edwards, who is an Army ROTC graduate and highly decorated combat veteran who served with an infantry company in the U.S. Army’s 1st Cavalry Division (Airmobile) in the jungles of Vietnam. In addition, Edwards was the fourth president of the New Jersey Vietnam Veterans Memorial Foundation, according to a statement released by the school district.
Other highlights of the event include a performance by the 78th U.S. Army Band’s Woodwind Quintet, the statement said.
In addition, students, staff and alumni being honored will receive a LRHSD Challenge Coin that honors those who served or are currently serving in the armed services.
“It’s quite impressive,” Birnbohm said. “It says “proud to salute your commitment to our nation” on the head side, and an back there is the insignia of all five branches of the armed services.”
Birnbohm said the ceremony is a way for the district to reach out to its alumni community.
“Going along with the mission in our district is a connection to the community, we want to make sure that we’re recognizing our alumni who have served their country and we’re also trying to reconnect them with the school district,” Birnbohm said.
Along with a district alumni event held in January, Birnbohm said this is another method the district is using to reach out to the alumni community.
“This is just another avenue for us to be able to reach out to our alumni and have them reconnect with the school district,” She said. “Hopefully, they’ll form some positive partnerships with our young students that are going on to the military and maybe serve in an unofficial mentor capacity for these students, give them some advice.”
There is no admission to attend this event and all active duty military personnel and veterans with ties to the LRHSD are invited to register to be honored during the ceremony. Birnbohm said over 40 members of the alumni community have registered so far.
The armed services awards ceremony is scheduled to take lace at 7 p.m. on May 17 in the Lenape High School Auditorium
For more information or to register for recognition, visit the LRHSD web site, www.lrhsd.org, and click on and click on First Annual Armed Services Awards Ceremony under headlines and features.