by First Sergeant Hardy Murray Jr
Two members of the Verdugo Hills High School Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (JROTC) were among the best at this year’s Los Angeles Unified School District All-City Staff Leadership Competition. In a very competitive competition involving only the best academically qualified cadets (students) in the School District, Cadet Elizabeth Ortega received top honors among sixteen competing schools. Cadet Mitchell Leedy also earned 5th place honors at the competition –an outstanding accomplishment in itself. Elizabeth is the fourth cadet to earn top honors during the Verdugo Hills High JROTC “twelve-year” history.
The competition required a minimum 3.0 GPA with no fails or unsatisfactory marks in work habits and cooperation. All cadets demonstrated their proficiency and knowledge during the completion of a 300 question general academic test (two-hour time limit), a demonstration of leadership skills by leading (marching) a squad of cadets, a cadet challenge (physical fitness) test, conducting an 8-10 minute oral power point presentation, and concluding with a formal interview (with resume’) conducted by an independent Board of Instructors.
The top cadets were honored at a luncheon held by the Los Angeles Unified School District JROTC Headquarters on August 4. The ceremony was attended by both honorees — Cadets Elizabeth Ortega and Mitchell Leedy. Elizabeth Ortega was promoted to the rank of Cadet Colonel and will represent all District JROTC Programs as the “All-City Colonel.” The Verdugo Hills High School JROTC instructors (1SG Hardy Murray Jr. and SFC Rodney Scott), Principal (Mr. Arturo Barcenas), and other school district officials, principals, administrators, and parents were also in attendance.
While Cadet Colonel Elizabeth Ortega will represent the district’s cadet leadership staff in the capacity of “AllCity Colonel,” Cadet Captain Mitchell Leedy will perform as the All-City Logistics Officer (S-4). Following her graduation in June 2017, Cadet Colonel Ortega plans to attend a major college or university to pursue a degree in the field of medicine. Currently a junior, Cadet Captain Leedy plans to obtain a degree in criminal justice.