HOPE – Hope High School graduating senior Cadet Colonel Chantiney M. Turner is the 2015-2016 Arkansas Air Force Association JROTC Cadet of the Year.
CC Turner was presented the honor Thursday by Hope Public Schools Superintendent Bobby Hart.
“I want you to know that we are extremely proud of you,” Hart told Turner during the ceremony at HHS.
Turner is a graduate from the HHS Class of 2016, and she plans to attend Henderson State University in Arkadelphia in the fall to study social work.
“I want to work with veterans,” she said.
As unit commander of the HHS AJROTC unit, Turner has been responsible for the operation of the unit and the conduct of its calendar. She has participated in JROTC since her freshman year, having served as deputy group commander before promotion to group commander.
“As the Cadet Deputy Group Commander and now Cadet Group Commander, she set expectations high than pushed herself and all the unit cadets upward to achieve and/or surpass established goals,” MSgt. (Ret.) Kenneth Funchess, group advisor, wrote in his nomination of Turner.
As cadet colonel, Turner holds the highest rank attainable in the AFJROTC.
“I’ve learned community service and an appreciation for our veterans,” she said.
Funchess said the award puts Turner at the top of the cadet service corps in Arkansas.
“It’s based on the record; that’s the only thing,” he said. “As a senior starting the year off, she had the option of staying in school all day or leaving after half a day. Knowing that the Senior Aerospace Science Instructor position had not been filled, she opted to stay the day and became a student aid to JROTC.”
Funchess said Turner’s service helped lift the unit from “does not meet standards” to one of the best units in the state.
“Her goal to ensure every senior cadet graduates on time demonstrates another value of not leaving a classmate behind,” he said.
Funchess said Turner planned and helped coordinate seven curriculum-related trips for the unit, where AJROTC requires only one.
“She not only doubled the number of nursing home visits, she ensured that participation was high, gathered items to give away as awards to bingo winner, encouraged cadets to get to know at least two residents on each visit, but more importantly, she participated in over 90 percent of the visits,” he said in his nomination letter.
Funchess also credited Turner with bringing about the success of a food drive for Hope In Action, the Hope community food pantry.
“The drive received 3.5 large boxes of canned goods that she and the B Flight class delivered to the overjoyed residents who stated that the timing could not have been better, as they were running low on canned goods,” his nomination states.
Turner is also credited with organizing and conducting six highway cleanup details along a two- mile stretch of Bill Clinton Drive in Hope, exceeding community project goals for the group by four.