A 16-year-old from Clarke’s Beach with a deep commitment to the cadet program demonstrated Sunday, May 25 that he is well respected by both his peers and his leaders.
Chief Petty Officer First Class Brandon Small is coxswain of the 249 Effie M. Morrissey sea cadet corps, which is based in Brigus.
The corps staged its 39th annual ceremonial review at the All Hallows Elementary gymnasium in North River on Sunday, with just under 40 cadets on parade for what was an impressive, well-rehearsed display of drill, deportment, music and seafaring tradition.
Under the watchful eye of inspecting officer Maj. Craig E. Stone, an air force officer originally from Bryant’s Cove, and first-time commanding officer navy Lt. Joshua Bartlett, the corps lived up to its storied reputation for excellence, leadership, camaraderie and esprit de corps.
But it was CPOI Small who stole the spotlight during the presentations, taking home two of the most coveted awards up for grabs: officers’ choice and cadet choice.
Getting the nod for both awards proves that Small, the top-ranking member of the corps, has earned the esteemed confidence of both his officers and fellow cadets.
Though only 16 and a Level II student at Ascension Collegiate in Bay Roberts, Small has already committed eight years of his young life to the cadet movement. Prior to joining 249 Morrissey, Small was a member of 119 Vickers Vimy cadets in Brigus, a Navy League of Canada unit for youth ages nine to 12.
CPOI Small is the son of Jim and Tina Small. Both were beaming with pride following the review, and credited the cadet movement for helping instill confidence, responsibility and leadership in their son.
“He’s very outgoing. He’s not shy,” said Tina.
“Cadets has done a lot for him,” added Jim.
CPOI Small competed at a provincial public speaking event earlier this year, touting the benefits of being a cadet. He gave an encore performance during Sunday’s review. It was one of a handful of displays and presentations executed by the cadets during the nearly three-hour ceremony.
While it’s already been an eventful year in cadet for CPOI Small, it’s far from over. He has been accepted to work as a staff cadet at HMCS Acadia in Nova Scotia this summer.
“I’ve accomplished so much with cadets, and have made many news friends. I can say without a doubt that I’m glad I joined many years ago,” CPOI Small wrote in a message included with the review program.
Other top awards went to Able Seaman Brian Peddle (best male cadet), Able Seaman Tamika French (best female cadet), Master Seaman Alexander Brenton (leadership potential and best guard cadet), Master Seaman Kelsey Mugford (most dedicated), Leading Seaman Cody Gillard (best dressed), Leading Seaman Taylor Dixon (best band cadet), Master Seaman Chantelle O’Leary (most promising third year), Leading Seaman Gavin Sparkes (most promising second year), and Able Seaman Devon Prior (most promising first year).
For more coverage of the ceremonial review, pick up a future print edition of The Compass.