Newburgh, NY – The Air Force Junior ROTC instructors and cadets of Newburgh Free Academy in Newburgh, NY earned an overall unit assessment score of “Exceeds Standards,” the highest rating attainable.
A Headquarters Air Force Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (AFJROTC) representative visited the high school program in March to conduct a formal Unit Evaluation. The purpose of the visit was to provide feedback regarding the performance of our AFJROTC unit and to assess its compliance with Public Law, Department of Defense and Air Force Instructions, and the written agreement which exists between the NECSD and the Air Force. From the evaluative report the program was commended, "During their evaluation [in March] MSgt (Ret) Christian Granda, created a dynamic and supportive learning environment coupled with an excellent community outreach. The instructors provided outstanding leadership in administering the cadet centered citizenship program. The Newburgh Free Academy cadets performed exceptionally well and took great pride in leading and accomplishing their unit goals. The Newburgh Free Academy Air Force ROTC citizenship program is making a positive impact on the cadets, the school, and the community." The evaluator made sure to further highlight "the unwavering dedication of your AFJROTC instructor. Achieving an “Exceeds Standards” rating is no small feat; it takes lots of effort and hard work. Both attributes were evident throughout the visit. MSgt (Ret) Granda, is clearly invested in the leadership and character development of the cadets, providing an unsurpassed level of mentorship and guidance on a daily basis." Of the overall program, the evaluator noted, "This program defines the term “successful unit” and establishes the benchmark for others to follow!" The NFA AFJROTC program has a rich history of supporting students in their development of life long skills and an everlasting commitment to serving their community. Available to all NFA students, the program started in 1975 and will be celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2025. Each year, students enrolled in the program participate in a cumulative total of 4408 volunteer hours this year. Volunteer opportunities include, but are not limited to supporting and educating students and families each Saturday morning at the Newburgh Armory Unity Center, directing walkers at Habitat for Humanity of Newburgh’s Annual Walk for Housing, picking up trash at Safe Harbor of the Hudson’s annual Community Cleanup, paying respects to our Veterans at the Hudson Valley Honor Flight, ushering, greeting, and supporting dozens of school based programs at Newburgh Free Academy and throughout the district. Within the NFA AF-JROTC program, there is an award winning Drill Team that attended the Air Force Drill Nationals in Dayton, OH this year and placed 5th overall in Unarmed Personal Inspection. The CyberPatriot Team placed 1st overall in the competition for the State of New York. The NFA AF-JROTC program is part of NECSD’s Career and Technical Education (CTE) program where students have the opportunity to learn career and technical skills within the halls of their high school building. Photos attached: Command Staff: Top Row (L-R) C/Lt Col Kevin Segali - Squadron B Commander C/Lt Col Justin Diaz- Squadron C Commander (North Campus) C/Lt Col Victor Speedling - Squadron A Commander C/Lt Col Cesar Tavarez - Deputy Group Commander Bottom Row (L-R) C/Maj Eric Colon Cruz- Group Executive Officer C/Col Catherine Garcia-Milostan- Special Duties Officer C/Col Evan Hoang-Le - Group Commander Drill Eval: C/1st Lt Amy Furbino - Assistant Drill Team Commander - Reporting in to the Regional Director for Drill Evaluation -- Cassie Sklarz, Ed.D. Director of Communications Newburgh Free Academy, '00 (she, her, hers)