Award Ceremony Brings The School Year To A Close
Monday, June 11, 2018

By Madeline Kirsten, Commander, Student Leadership Academy Cadet Squadron, Group 5, Florida Wing

VENICE, Fla. -

Venice’s school squadron, Student Leadership Academy, presented its end of year awards with acknowledgement and appreciation for the dedicated Civil Air Patrol cadets, senior members and aerospace education members at the Student Leadership Academy middle school. 

The award ceremony began with the last promotions of the school year, recognizing adet Airman 1st Class Sanchez, Cadet Airman Smith and Cadet Airman Staniszewski.  The squadron presented certificates of appreciation to its color guard, and 8th graders who had participated in the Civil Air Patrol class all three years of their middle school career.  Emergency Services awards were presented to Cadet Senior Airman Hays, Cadet Master Sgt. Cruz and Cadet Master Sgt. Merlino for obtaining emergency services qualifications above and beyond their fellow cadets. 

Among the most prestigious award recipients were Cadet Airman 1st Class Allis, Cadet Master Sgt. Merlino, and Squadron Commander Captain Kirsten. Exhibiting his commitment to the core value of community service, Cadet Airman 1st Class Allis received the CAP Community Service and three devices.  His award represents selfless service in the excess of 200 community services hours. Cadet Master Sgt. Tori Merlino received the Air Force Association award for excellence for her extensive dedication to aerospace education and military training. For the squadron commander’s nine-year leadership at the school squadron, commendable teaching of aerospace education and military excellence, Capt. Madeline Kirsten was presented with two southeast region awards; Aerospace Education Teacher of the year and Aerospace Education member of the year. 

The final awards were certificates of appreciation to the two teacher members of the school squadron; Aerospace Education members, Jenna Hawks and Tessa Healy, who selflessly promoted aerospace education instruction, encouragement, and support whenever called upon by the squadron.   

Deputy Commander, Lt. Bouchane noted that “the cadets who choose to participate in our Civil Air Patrol school squadron are a different type of students; the type of students who defy the common perception and actions of ordinary youth.” The Civil Air Patrol school squadron is a demanding and engaging unit that challenges young students to find greatness at a young age.


C/MSgt Tori Merlino. was the recipient of the Air Force Association Award for Excellence. (photo credit: Capt. M. Kirsten) 




C/MSgt Merlino, C/SrA Hays and C/MSgt Cruz received certificates for their dedication to one of CAP's primary missions, Emergency Services. (photo credit: Capt. M. Kirsten)


Cadet Allis receives the Community Service Award during the end-of-school ceremony. The award was presented by 2nd Lt. Andre Bouchane, Deputy Commander. (Photo credit: Capt. M. Kirsten)
Photo Caption:  Cadet Allis receives the Community Service Award during the end-of-school ceremony. The award was presented by 2nd Lt. Andre Bouchane, Deputy Commander. (Photo credit: Capt. M. Kirsten)
Article Information
Reviewed by: Major Madeline Kirsten
Syndicated to: Region Hq, Florida Wing, Group 5
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Civil Air Patrol, the longtime all-volunteer U.S. Air Force auxiliary, is the newest member of the Air Force’s Total Force. In this role, CAP operates a fleet of 560 aircraft, performs about 90 percent of continental U.S. inland search and rescue missions as tasked by the Air Force Rescue Coordination Center and is credited by the AFRCC with saving an average of 80 lives annually. CAP’s 57,000 members also perform homeland security, disaster relief and drug interdiction missions at the request of federal, state and local agencies. CAP also plays a leading role in aerospace/STEM education, and its members serve as mentors to 24,000 young people participating in CAP’s Cadet Programs. Visit for more information.
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