The Guidon is Passed at Alvirne JROTC

June 8, 2018


by Len Lathrop

Under Presiding Officer Lt. Colonel Cheetam the cadet corps bid farewell to the leaders of the Class of 2018 and passed the torch to the Class of 2019.

Providing direction, Cadet Lt. Colonel Cam Price served as narrator, explaining the transfer of authority among the cadet leaders. Cadet Major Dreven Clancy will take command of the Logistics Squadron. Cadet Major Nick Spargo will relinquish command and Cadet Major Kayleigh D’Amico will head the Operations Squadron.

Taking command for 2019 will be Cadet Colonel Bridget Gilligan who follows Cadet Colonel Catie Donahue as commander of the Alvirne cadet group.

“Before I walk down memory lane I would like to begin with a token of thanks,” said Catie Donahue. “Thank you to Mr. Beals for his support for the program, to Mrs. Bureau, and Mr. Hughen for giving me this opportunity to be your group commander, and to my senior staff for their hard work over the last nine months.

“This year has flown by and I feel as if it was only yesterday that I was standing in front of you all giving my welcoming speech. Although the year was quick, we still accomplished so much. I won’t go into detail about all the events since last September, but I would like to acknowledge a few of our greatest hits. Starting off with the biggest event, in my opinion, the Washington, D.C. trip. It was tough to plan to say the least, but I would say it was a success. It was nice to be able to give cadets the freedom to walk around the monuments, and the overall flexibility of the itinerary created a more enjoyable trip. Military ball was of course, as fun as it’s always been and was successful in creating long- lasting memories between not only just Alvirne cadets, but between the other schools too.

“I would like to briefly acknowledge one of our most recent events, the Memorial Day parade. Although we were not given a lot of information, and the bus in front of us was driving at unpredictable speeds … we powered through and made the most of it. We’ve received such positive feedback for an event that means so much to our community. Especially because this was the first parade to be done since 2015, I’d say it was pretty successful.

“The position of group commander comes with many challenges, and this school year was no exception. While it wasn’t always a walk in the park, myself with the help of my command staff did our best to continue running this program to its fullest potential. The numerous hours of planning, managing, and leading have finally paid off as we say our farewell. To next year’s senior staff … I would like to give a word of advice. Whatever you do, give it your all. I don’t mean to sound cliché, but the work will be worth it. There may be days where you feel like nothing is coming together, but I promise that, if you constantly put your best foot forward, you will see the results you’re waiting for. Trust your peers, and trust those above and below you. Acknowledge others’ opinions, and always be respectful. I am eager to see what you all will bring to the program, and I can’t wait to come back and congratulate all of you on your successes.

“To this year’s seniors, I once again would like to thank you for your support and dedication to this program. It blows my mind that we’ve been through this program together for the last four years. And some of us have even been classmates since the first grade. And now here we are about to graduate in less than two weeks. I wish you all tremendous success in whatever path you have chosen for your future, and I know you all will do great things!

“Lastly I would just like to say that this position has been a great privilege and something that has taught me a great deal about leadership. This program has always been something that I hold near and dear to my heart and it’s bittersweet to leave.

“A special thank you to Col. Cheetham for not just giving me this opportunity to lead but being an incredible teacher and an exceptional role model. I hope that one day I can become at least half the officer you are today.

“I would like to end this speech with a quick thank you to my mother as well. You have helped shape me into the young woman I am today and you have helped give me the confidence I needed to get to where I am today.

“Good luck, goodbye, and thank you all!”

Incoming Alvirne Cadet Commander Bridget Gilligan thanked Colonel Cheetham for his introduction:

“I’d first like to say how excited I am to be taking on this position. It’s something I’ve been striving for since my first year in JROTC, and I am incredibly honored to be standing here today assuming the role of group commander. Although I do have some very big shoes to fill, because Catie Donahue was a fantastic group commander. She dedicated herself tremendously to this program, and I’ll work my hardest to be as incredible as she was this year.

“In the upcoming school year we have our Air Force inspection, but, with the hard work all of the cadets will be putting in, there’s no doubt in my mind that we’ll pass it with ease. Along with inspection, rebuilding our drill teams is going to require hard work as well, but I know that we can do it.

“Now, I’d like to thank those who have supported me through this entire process and prior. First, thank you to Mr. Beals for his never-ending support for Alvirne’s JROTC program, without which none of us would be standing here today! Second, thank you to Lieutenant Colonel Cheetham and Master Sergeant Gibson for giving me the opportunity to lead this program and for encouraging and supporting me this entire year. Finally, thank you to my family. I joined this program because of my brother, and he and the rest of my family never fail to support me in my endeavors within it. I’ll always know how proud they are of me, and for that, I am eternally grateful. Thank you.”