It was a successful annual ceremonial review (ACR) for the 2615 Victoria Lions Army Cadets, where 22 members paraded in full uniform at Persalvic School on the afternoon of May 4.
In its 37th year, the corps showcased skill in band, drill and first aid performances that drew positive remarks from reviewing officer, former 2615 regimental sergeant major (RSM) and member of the Canadian Air Force, Capt. Rodney Normore.
The 50-plus parents, friends and special guests in attendance were silent, some visibly nervous, as the inspection was being completed. But the cadets remained calm and professional during the entire event.
Two of the biggest awards offered to cadets in the country, the Lord Strathcona Medal and the Duke of Edinburg bronze award, were handed out during the ceremony. In fact, both honours went to the same cadet, 15-year-old Master Warrant Officer Jenna Parsons.
“I had no idea I was getting the awards and that makes it even more special,” Parsons told The Compass after the ACR. “I could not have come this far without our amazing corps, officers, volunteers and most importantly, my parents and my brother Justin, who has always pushed me to be the best cadet and person I can be.”
Parsons is no stranger to cadet awards. Last year she took home the Esprit de Corps (which she won again this year) and RSM’s choice awards, as well as the Legion Medal of Excellence. She is also the current Victoria Fire Queen, one of the many volunteer positions she holds.
Her brother Justin was also a recipient of many cadet awards, was a former RSM and still volunteers with the corps.
Parsons, who attends Carbonear Collegiate, has also received another prestigious honour. She will head to Europe this summer after being named the only Newfoundland recipient of the Royal Canadian Legion Vimy pilgrimage award.
“I get to go to Europe to follow the trail of the caribou,” Parsons explained. “And (I get to) go to Vimy Ridge and the Menin gates this summer. It's a nine-day trip and all expenses are paid through the legion.”
But the event was not just about recognition and success. Emcee Captain George Pryor took the time to tell the audience he would like to see the corps grow.
Last year the group had 32 members, while this year it has 24. Only two members are new recruits, Pryor said.
He explained the organization helps students grow and learn responsibility, but also gain friendships and learn life skills not taught in other activities.
Marksmanship, survival skills and leadership are some of the things members in 2615 learn, and some of them continue on with the program, entering the reserves, military or come back to volunteer with the organization. Recognition is also given to those with exemplary performance in different activities.
• Top female green star cadet — Faith Clarke;
• Top male green star cadet — Mackenzie Penney;
• Top female red star cadet — Brooklyn Kennell;
• Top male red star cadet — Cameron Green;
• Top female silver star cadet — Morgan Fry;
• Top male silver star cadet — Francis Finlayson;
• Top female gold star cadet — Morgan Slade;
• Top male gold star cadet — Joshua Fitzgerald;
• Best dressed cadet, junior — Cameron Green;
• Best dressed cadet, senior — Mackenzie King;
• Best dressed cadet at ACR — Brooklyn Kennell;
• Bronze Duke of Edinburgh award — Jenna Parsons;
• Public speaking award — Mackenzie King;
• Top cadet in drill — Samantha Short;
• Most improved cadet — Joshua Morgan;
• Most improved dress — Jami Ryan;
• Outstanding dedication to band — Morgan Fry;
• Top marksman, senior — Kurklyn Hefford;
• Top marksman, junior — Brooklyn Kennell;
• Most popular cadet, as voted by peers — Faith Clarke;
• Esprit de corps — Jenna Parsons;
• CO’s choice — Jonathan Davis;
• Most dedicated to colour party — Nigel Green;
• Perfect attendance — Cameron Green;
• Legion medal of excellence — Morgan Slade and;
• Lord Strathcona medal — Jenna Parsons.