Young Marines names SgtMaj. Shana Perez of Waco, Texas, ‘Young Marine of the Year’ for Division 4

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The Young Marines, a national youth and service program, has named SgtMaj Shana Perez the Division 4 'Young Marine of the Year.' She has been invited to travel to Guam and Iwo Jima for the annual Reunion of Honor trip.

The Young Marines names Shana Perez 'Young Marine of the Year' for Division 4.
As Divison 4 'Young Marine of the Year,' SgtMaj Shana Perez will travel to Guam and Iwo Jima for the annual Reunion of Honor trip.

The Young Marines youth organization has named its Division 4 “Young Marine of the Year” - SgtMaj. Shana Perez, 15, of Waco, Texas. She is a sophomore at Texas Christian Academy and joined the Heart of Texas Young Marines at age eight.

With three brothers and a sister also in the Young Marines, Perez never had a doubt in her mind about the love she has for the program.

Her travels with the Young Marines include Space Camp in Huntsville, Ala., when she was 11, regimental and division encampments and all three leadership schools.

“While I have had many amazing opportunities, my greatest experience was traveling to Hawaii for the 70th anniversary of the bombing of Pearl Harbor in Dec. 2011,” said Perez. “That is something I will never forget.”

Perez has been invited to travel to Guam and Iwo Jima for the annual Reunion of Honor trip. He will join the five other division winners named Young Marine of the Year, the two winners of the Young Marines’ annual Jimmie Trimble scholarship; the national Young Marine of the Year SgtMajor McCall Beringer; and Mike Kessler, national director and CEO of the Young Marines.

She has a love for basketball and her goal is to earn a basketball scholarship for college.

How it works

The Young Marines organization is divided into six divisions across the United States. Each Young Marine goes through a series of selection processes starting at the unit level, going through battalion, regiment and on to the division. At the division level, the packages (portfolios) of the final candidates are reviewed for consideration.

Annually, one Young Marine of the Year is selected from each division. From these six winners, only one will be named the national “Young Marine of the Year” which will be announced in May, 2013.

Mike Kessler, national director and CEO of the Young Marines, calls each division winner to congratulate her or him. Then he invites each to travel to Guam and Iwo Jima for the annual Reunion of Honor trip.

“The trip gives each division winner a chance to showcase the program and the good work done by the Young Marines with veterans,” Kessler said. “The trip serves as an invaluable history lesson unable to be found in any book. Also, I get to know them and see how each interacts with others. If selected as the National YMOY, he or she will work for me, so this piece is important.”

The Young Marines is a national non-profit 501c(3) youth education and service program for boys and girls, age eight through the completion of high school. The Young Marines promotes the mental, moral and physical development of its members. The program focuses on teaching the values of leadership, teamwork and self-discipline, so its members can live and promote a healthy, drug-free lifestyle.

Since the Young Marines' humble beginnings in 1959 with one unit and a handful of boys, the organization has grown to over 300 units with 10,000 youth and 3,000 adult volunteers in 46 states, the District of Columbia, Germany, Japan and affiliates in a host of other countries.

For more information, visit the official website at: http://www.YoungMarines.com.

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Andy Richardson
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