By: Alicia Sands Lurry
Two Atlanta Public Schools 6th Brigade JROTC (Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps) cadets are recipients of the national Legion Of Valor Bronze Cross Award by the Department of the U.S. Army.
Cadet Major Lauren Bailey, a senior at Coretta Scott King Young Women’s Leadership Academy, and senior Cadet Lt. Col. Zachary Flash of North Atlanta High School, are the 2016 recipients of the national award. Bailey and Flash are the only recipients among more than 20,000 cadets in Georgia – and two of only 29 – recognized in the United States. Established in 1951, the Bronze Cross for Achievement rewards cadets from the Reserve Officers Training Corps who demonstrate excellence in military, scholastic and civic affairs.
“Atlanta Public Schools’ JROTC program is continuing its long lineage of Legion Of Valor winners,” said retired Lt. Col Robert Rooker, director of Army Instruction and Leadership Army JROTC for APS. “We are extremely proud of these students and their extraordinary leadership and scholastic achievement.”
With all A’s and a 94 percent academic average since the beginning of her high school career, Bailey is currently slated to become salutatorian of her 2017 graduating class. In addition to her numerous academic achievements and role as the Battalion executive officer, Bailey is a proven academic leader. She is a member of the Color Guard; Honor Guard and the CSKYWLA drill team; National Honor Society; Beta Club; and also served as a JROTC Battalion Major. In addition, she was selected as the 2015-2016 Superintendent’s Young Ambassador, and received the JROTC Merit honor. As a junior, she received the Alpha Kappa Alpha Inc. scholarship.
Flash’s academic accolades are just as impressive. With ambitions to become an emergency medicine physician or special operations officer, Flash boasts a 97 percent academic average, and his extracurricular activities include: Mu Alpha Theta; Men of Excellence; No Place for Hate; Chick-Fil-A Leader Academy; National Society of High School Scholars Ambassador; member of the North Atlanta High School football team; rifle team captain; Color Guard and Honor Guard; Fit to Fight Krav Maga training; drill team; lifeguard; and swim instructor and manager. He has also participated in the Army JROTC Leadership and Academic Bowl team; Georgia Boys state representative; U.S. Naval Academy Summer Seminar; and U.S. Military Academy at West Point Summer Leaders Experience.
The Bronze Cross for Achievement honor is awarded to one senior cadet per district who meets the following criteria: a Marine Corps JROTC class standing in the top 25 percent of their class; school academic class standing in the top 25 percent; and the most demonstrated exemplary military leadership.