Jonathan Stokes, a student at New Rochelle High School, was presented Saturday with the VFW Citation and Medal Award for Special Recognition for Outstanding Achievement and Exceptional Leadership Ability.
Jonathan Stokes, 16, has been involved with the Sea Cadets for three years. He is a Sea Cadet leader, having successfully completed numerous training sessions. Stokes has contributes to his community through service and outstanding achievement.
Stokes has lived in New Rochelle his entire life. He has attended Barnard Magnet School, Davis Elementary School and Albert Leonard Middle School. He is currently a junior at New Rochelle High School (class of ’12). He is a varsity wrestler who earned an all-league distinction and placed sixth at the Section 1 Championships in February 2011. He also plays defense on the New Rochelle High School Boys Lacrosse team (13-3 this season).
Jonathan Stokes joined the George Washington CVN-73 unit of the U.S. Naval Sea Cadets Corps (USNSCC) in 2007. The unit is based at Salesian High School in New Rochelle. He graduated from Recruit Training (Boot Camp) at Fort Indiantown Gap, PA in July, 2008. Recruit Training is a two week introduction to military life. He graduated from Petty Officer’s Leadership Academy (POLA) at Camp Clark in Watertown, NY in July, 2009. POLA is a one week course that teaches naval leadership skills. Jonathan graduated from Naval Intelligence Training in June, 2010. Naval Intelligence Training began at Naval Station Norfolk in Norfolk, VA with briefings from NCIS and the FBI. The cadets were also briefed at CIA Headquarters in Langley, VA and spent a night at Marine Corps Base Quantico. Their last briefing was from the NSA at Ft. Meade, MD where their graduation ceremony took place. In August 2010, Jonathan graduated from Master-At -Arms (MAA) Training, also known as New England Law Enforcement Academy, at Naval Station Newport in Newport, RI. There he was trained in arrest procedures, defensive tactics and firearms. He earned an award as an expert marksman and participated in a ride-along with the Newport Police Department. In February 2011, Jonathan completed the Leadership Challenge Weekend at Norwich University, the nation’s oldest private military college. He currently holds the rank of Petty officer 3rd Class and serves in a leadership role as his unit’s Master-At-Arms.
Stokes has marched in the New York City St. Patrick’s Day parade, the New Rochelle Memorial Day parade, and the New Rochelle Thanksgiving Day parade. He participated in the 2009 re-dedication ceremony for USS Intrepid Museum and toured the USS Bataan and the USS New York. He has been an active volunteer in the community. He has volunteered at the New Rochelle Humane Society since 2009. He has also volunteered as coach at two local youth sports programs, New Rochelle Youth Lacrosse and the New Rochelle Wrestling Club.
Jonathan Stokes took a turn as an actor, appearing in a local public service announcement to prevent teenage alcohol abuse produced by New Rochelle FOCUS. The commercial was shown on cable television in our area.
The Naval Sea Cadet Corps (NSCC) is a national organization for young American men and women ages 13-17 interested in developing their leadership, basic seamanship, courage, self reliance, military discipline and committed to being drug and gang free. Children as young as 11-14 can join the National Navy League (NLCC), located at Salesian High School, introducing them to basic seamanship and naval life. Cadets are instructed by Naval Personnel (active duty, reserve and retired) by senior Cadets and dedicated adult volunteer leaders who comprise the NSCC Officer Corps. Cadets study a broad range of subjects, some designed to help them become better citizens, others teach them the importance of maritime forces. They study Naval history, customs and traditions and navigation. The Sea Cadets was founded in 1958.
If a Sea Cadet completes training and bootcamp and decides to enlist in the Navy they automatically earn a rank of E2 to E3, ranking higher than someone enlisting without training.
Cadets are offered opportunities to go to camps across the country during school breaks and summers. There are numerous traveling opportunities for Cadets. There is also an International Exchange Program available to outstanding Cadets with programs in Canada, Belgium, the Netherlands, United Kingdom, Australia, South Korea, Japan, Bermuda, Sweden and Russia. Candidates are selected on a merit basis. Once Cadets have completed boot camp they may take full advantage of Naval Sea Cadet opportunities during succeeding summers, including advanced training periods aboard Navy and Coast Guard vessels.
Photo Credit: All photos by Jen Parente