Harlingen Family Dentistry's "The Way to Happiness" JROTC Scholarship Competition Winners for 2014 Announced

Harlingen area high school JROTC awardees to receive $6,000 in total scholarships for community work implementing one or more of the 21 precepts contained in “The Way to Happiness” book along with the JROTC Core Values in order to make the world a better place

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Winners and Judges Left to right: Madelyne Killelea, third place, Christian Mendoza, second place and  Brianna Seratto, first place, Major General Charles Rodriguez, Corey Ryan, Colonel Norris Miller Overly, Dr. Juan D. Villarreal, Casandra Garcia,  back

Winners and Judges Left to right: Madelyne Killelea, third place, Christian Mendoza, second place and Brianna Seratto, first place, Major General Charles Rodriguez, Corey Ryan, Colonel Norris Miller

This yearly competition is sponsored by Harlingen Family Dentistry which awards $6,000 in total to the three winners when they register in an institution of higher learning of their choice.

Harlingen, Tx. (PRWEB) April 28, 2014

On April 10, 2014, the seventh annual JROTC "The Way to Happiness" Program and Scholarship Competition was held at the offices of Harlingen Family Dentistry. This yearly competition is sponsored by Harlingen Family Dentistry which awards $6,000 in total to the three winners when they register in an institution of higher learning of their choice.

Members of local area high school JROTC programs compete by presenting activities and programs they have personally done that implement one or more of the 21 precepts contained in “The Way to Happiness” book along with the JROTC Core Values in order to make the world a better place.

This year’s winners are:

Brianna Serrato, Harlingen High School, First Place
Brianna spearheaded a project, to help keep the Harlingen Humane Society doors open at Harlingen High School. This project reflected the moral values in "The Way to Happiness" book: #20. TRY TO TREAT OTHERS AS YOU WOULD WANT THEM TO TREAT YOU, #6. SET A GOOD EXAMPLE, AND #12. SAFEGUARD AND IMPROVE THE ENVIRONMENT.

Brianna said about her project, “I entered this competition to achieve my goals of helping the Harlingen Humane Society by volunteering and organizing fund drives called, Pennies for Paws, throughout my high school.”

Brianna enlisted her fellow JROTC cadets to develop posters, donation boxes, flyers and volunteering at the Harlingen Humane Society. A total of $500.00 was raised for the Harlingen Humane Society. Brianna’s work of volunteering and fund raising for the Humane Society is ongoing. She plans to continue her “Pennies for Paws” at the University of Texas Pan American University when she continues her educational studies.

Christian Mendoza, Harlingen High School, Second Place
Christian organized an Anti-Bullying Club on the Harlingen High School Campus called “Cards Against Bullying”. He took his middle school negative experiences of being bullied and turned these experiences into a very positive initiative. At the club meetings Christian found that many of the new members had been or are current victims of bullying. They shared their stories and were assured that they have friends in the club. Christian spearheaded various projects throughout the year to stamp out bullying of other students at Harlingen High School.

Christopher used "The Way to Happiness" precepts #19.TRY NOT TO DO THINGS TO OTHERS THAT YOU WOULD NOT LIKE THEM TO DO TO YOU AND #20. TRY TO TREAT OTHERS AS YOU WOULD WANT THEM TO TREAT YOU.

Madelyne Killelea, McAllen High School, Third Place
Madelyne worked with the following Way to Happiness precepts: #12. SAFEGUARD AND IMPROVE YOUR ENVIRONMENT and #20. TRY TO TREAT OTHERS AS YOU WOULD WANT THEM TO TREAT YOU.

Madelyne presented three initiatives for her project, “Help a Custodian”, “Park Clean-up” and a “Tree Planting Ceremony”. The purpose of the project was to assist the custodians at McAllen High School and to let them know that their hard work does not go unrecognized. Her project, “Help a Custodian”, took a day to assist the custodians with their daily duties. She recognized a custodian who retired after 37 years for the McAllen CISD with a Tree Planting Ceremony to honor the retiring custodian and other McAllen High School custodial staff. The day of the park clean-up a McAllen Parks and Recreation employee met the students at Bill Schupp Park and directed the students.

Judges for the JROTC "The Way to Happiness" Scholarship competition included:

  • Major General Charles G. Rodriguez, Ph.D., Major General Retired, U.S. Army, Vice President for Strategic Initiatives, Institutional Advancement and Military Affairs, Texas A & M University-San Antonio. General Rodriguez is a decorated veteran, commander and leader of the Texas National Guard and educator. From 2005-2009, Rodriguez worked for Texas Governor Rick Perry and served four years as the Texas Adjutant General of Texas, the senior joint commander of more than 24,000 in the Texas Adjutant Generals Department, the Texas Army National Guard, Texas Air National Guard, and the Texas State Guard. In October 2006, the Governor appointed him with a State commission as a Lieutenant General (three stars).
  • Colonel Norris Miller Overly, Retired Vietnam veteran and POW. He has been awarded the Silver Star for gallantry. Colonel Norris has also received the Legion of Merit, the Distinguished Flying Cross, and the Prisoner of War Medal.
  • Casandra L. Garcia, South Texas Regional Director for Senator Ted Cruz
  • Staff Sergeant Victor Yanez, United States Army
  • Dr. Juan D. Villarreal, CEO and Founder of Harlingen Family Dentistry, Edinburg Family Dentistry and Brownsville Family Dentistry,
  • Dr. Rene Gutierrez, Edinburg CISD Superintendent
  • Corey Ryan, Marketing Coordinator, Harlingen CISD

Volunteering as timekeeper was SSG Lupe Martinez, Harlingen JROTC High School JROTC Instructor and as tabulator was Janie Reyna, Rio Grande Valley Credit Union, San Benito Branch Manager.
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The Cano Freshman Academy hosted a “Meet and Greet” the General the morning of the competition under the direction of Major David Casebeer. Area high school JROTC units were invited.

Major General Rodriguez spoke to the cadets about the issues of leadership and education. He emphasized the need for education and job skills in the Rio Grande area. He talked about making choices that allow for personal growth and about family and the need for responsible parenting.

About the Competition:
To qualify, the JROTC cadets were required to present a portfolio containing the following items: JROTC Service Criteria format resume, cover letter, documentation of certificates of achievement and three references.

For the competition, candidates presented the following:
1. A summation of the goals, objectives and results achieved in implementing “The Way To Happiness” precept(s) and JROTC Core Values in a portfolio.
2. Oral presentation: finalists only; selected by school; and
3. A visual presentation: portfolio, scrapbook, story board, power point, etc.;
4. Notes, memos, photos, flyers, announcements, news media articles, etc. of project activities

The cadets were evaluated by the panel of judges as to how well they connected the JROTC Core Values and “The Way to Happiness” moral values of their choice. The PowerPoint format was used for the oral presentation with a time limit of 5-8 minutes.

For more information about the competition, contact:

Gail Thomason, Public Relations Director
Harlingen Family Dentistry
1214 Dixieland Rd. #4
Harlingen, Texas 78552
956-428-5322


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