HomeMarlton NewsLenape Regional High School District holds Ninth Annual Armed Services Ceremony

Lenape Regional High School District holds Ninth Annual Armed Services Ceremony

Officials honored graduating students entering the military, military academies or college ROTC programs.

Alex Steinberg (trumpet) and Jonathan Jones (snare drum) playing the National Anthem at the Ninth Annual Armed Services Awards Ceremony on May 15.

By Melissa Riker
The Sun

Lenape Regional High School District officials continued the annual tradition of honoring senior students entering the military, military academies or college ROTC programs upon graduation.

The May 15 ceremony marked the Ninth Annual Armed Services Awards Ceremony, in which staff, family, friends and active service members and veterans came together to wish the students well and to provide them with advice in their future endeavors.

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Speaking before the crowd gathered in the Lenape High School Auditorium, Superintendent Carol Birnbohm said that, in addition to honoring students, veterans would also be recognized, whether that be alumni, staff or relatives of those in the LRHSD.

In addition to showing respect to the men and women serving, another goal of the night was to provide a support system for the seniors entering the armed services, and the students had the opportunity to connect with veterans after the ceremony.

“The veterans can provide valuable insight for our students and their parents, on what they might expect in the upcoming year,” Birnbohm said.

Since this will likely be the first time the students have been away from their families for an extended period of time, Birnbohm noted this is a big change for the students, and the students being honored at the ceremony would have the added pressure of being a part of something much bigger than they have ever been a part of before.

“Our students will not only be representing themselves when they go out in public, they’ll be representing their school, their community, and now, the United States of America,” Birnbohm said. “There will be a newfound responsibility of understanding that individual decisions now impact their unit, their institution and our country.”

Shawnee alumnus Erik Schoenberg hosted the event, and invited Assemblyman Ryan Peters to the stage to deliver the night’s keynote address. Peters represents the eighth district, which includes parts of Atlantic, Burlington and Camden counties. He was sworn in as an assemblyman in January, was a freeholder in Burlington County from 2016 to 2018 and served on the Mt. Laurel Zoning Board from 2013 to 2014. He served as the chairman of the Board of Directors of Liberty USO of Pennsylvania and Southern New Jersey.

Peters is a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy with a bachelor’s degree in political science, later earning a law degree from Rutgers — New Brunswick. As a Navy SEAL, he served on multiple combat deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan, and is currently the lieutenant commander for SEAL Team 18 in the Naval Reserve.

Peters took the stage and reflected on his time in the military, then offered advice to students who are soon to be embarking on their individual journeys.

“Being in the military was, and is, the greatest honor of my life. I’ve traveled most of the world, I’ve seen and done things that most people had only dreamed of, I’ve led men in combat, I’ve helped people through their toughest moments,” Peters said.

He went on to tell the students, “You can’t possibly understand this yet, but you’re on the verge of getting one of the greatest jobs on this planet. You’ll be asked to protect and defend the most sacred of all things in this world, freedom,” Peters said. “You’re going to have to go through some pretty tough stuff in order to have the poise and confidence it takes to proudly wear the uniform of the most powerful military to ever walk this planet.”

Students honored at this year’s Armed Services Awards Ceremony are as follows:

  • Lenape High School students Arielle Beauchemin, Aaron Diefenbach, Grant DiDomenico, Ronald Hicks, Kevin Lauer and Jake Steffa.
  • Cherokee High School students Andre Flamini, Ethan Lacy, Joseph Mikusa, Liana Pacheco, Amanda Riley and Paige Roberts.
  • Shawnee High School students Christian Iannuzzelli and Matthew Ross.
  • Seneca High School students Alexa Adams and Shane Brennan.

Alumni, parent and employee honorees were Kelly Bulger, Michael Deehr, Alecia Dunmire, Harry Dunmire, Frank Fatale, Bernard “Skip” Gmitter, Joseph Halber, Kristi Kennedy, Alexander Litwornia, Sue Ann Miller, Robert Reigada, David Schill, Ramilia Scott, James Snyder, Sr., John Snyder and Anthony Zissimos.

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