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Cherokee NJROTC celebrates command change awards ceremony


ROGERSVILLE — Cherokee High School NJROTC hosted the 16th annual Awards Night and the biannual change of command on May 1, during which the former senior chain of command was relieved of duty by the upcoming junior class.

Johnathan Newhouse steps down as the unit commanding officer and has passed on this position to Lt. Cmdr. Heather Whitt.

“When I joined into Cherokee High School’s NJROTC my freshman year, I would have never imagined that I would be introduced in a group that I can proudly call my family,” Whitt said. “I am extremely grateful for each and every cadet I have met throughout my experience, and I am grateful for all of the moments I had with each and every one of them. As my four years as a NJROTC cadet come to an end, I have come to realize that the program and its members have deeply affected me as a person.”

Whitt added, “For the upcoming year as the commanding officer in my unit, I have no doubt that myself and the others in the chain of command will do everything in our willpower to ensure that we return the sense of belonging and pride to those after us, as those before us had done for us.”

Cadet Lt. Johnny Pearson assumed the position of the unit’s executive officer.

“I joined the JROTC program with no knowledge on how to lead others,” Pearson said. “The people I have met in the program have developed me into a better person and leader overall. I have been blessed with the opportunity to be the executive officer. I have many ideas on how to make the unit better overall, but my biggest goal is to help develop other people in the unit who are shy and scared, just like I was, become better leaders than me.”

Cadet Emily Harris assumed the position of the unit’s operations officer.

When asked what this title means to her, Harris replied, “I’ve been in the Cherokee NJROTC unit going on four years now. This program allows a young person to learn the morals and concepts that lack in our society today. Cadets learn self-discipline, a respect not just for our country but for themselves, helping others for the bettering of our community, and leadership. I feel very blessed to have been given the title of operations officer and plan on doing great things with it. After four years of watching my superior cadets lead our unit with success, I’ve realized that leadership isn’t a title or position, it’s an action and an example.”

Cadet Master Chief Zachary Strauss has assumed the position of the unit’s command master chief. When asked what advice he has for his younger cadets, he stated, “Nobody can predict the future but you can always prepare for it.”

Cadet Jewel Macgregor took over as the unit’s supply officer.

Cadet Kameron Sauceman took over as the unit’s color guard commander.

Cadet Travis Baxley took over as the public affairs officer.


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