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Air Force JROTC Honors Retiring Teachers and Achievements at ECHS Ceremony

The Air Force Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps of Effingham County High School (ECHS) held a special ceremony on May 10, 2023, to pay tribute to the American flag, recognize retiring teachers, and honor the 2023 Teacher of the Year. Cadet Major Madeleine Carr served as the narrator for the event, guiding attendees through the proceedings.

Among the distinguished guests in attendance were Superintendent Ford, Principal Dickerson, and Lt. Col. Wichers. They were joined by esteemed individuals including Mrs. Jennifer Hayes, Mrs. Gayle Ergle, Mrs. Donna Holder, Mr. Chris Johnson (Jason), Mrs. Allison Moore, Mrs. Aurelia Moss, Mrs. Danielle Neal, Mr. Max Neidlinger, Mrs. Cynthia Smith, and Mrs. LuJuan Taylor.

The focal point of the ceremony was the retirement of American flags and the Georgia flag that had proudly flown over the school. These flags, which had become torn, soiled, faded, or outdated, were retired in accordance with United States Federal Law. With respect and dignity befitting our great nation, the retiring flags were not destroyed but instead presented to retiring teachers and staff: Mrs. Gayle Ergle, Mrs. Donna Holder, Mr. Chris Johnson, Mrs. Allison Moore, Mrs. Aurelia Moss, Mrs. Danielle Neal, Mr. Max Neidlinger, Mrs. Cynthia Smith, and Mrs. LuJuan Taylor. This gesture commemorated their years of dedicated service to the Effingham County School District and Effingham County High School.

The Georgia State flag that had flown over the school throughout the year was handed over to Mrs. Jennifer Hayes, who had been named the 2023 Teacher of the Year. This prestigious recognition highlighted her exceptional contributions to the school and the education of students.

Continuing with the program, Principal Dickerson and Lieutenant Colonel Wichers took the stage to acknowledge the Flight of the Year. This highly anticipated award is bestowed upon the flight that distinguished themselves through outstanding service to their school and community while meeting the Air force JROTC Citizen Development Mission for America. The recipients, Flight ALPHA, were presented with a streamer attached to their guidon and were granted the privilege of wearing a ribbon signifying their status as the honor flight.

Effingham County High School's achievements extended beyond expectations as its JROTC unit, designated as UNIT GA-938, received the prestigious 2022-2023 Air Force JROTC Distinguished Unit Award. Out of a pool of 387 units, Effingham County High School stood out for surpassing expectations and making exceptional contributions to their school and community. Principal Dickerson proudly affixed the Distinguished Unit streamer to the GA-938 unit flag, perpetuating the tradition of excellence at the school.

The ceremony concluded with the Change of Command Ceremony between C/LtCol Dimitri Stepanov and C/Capt Falofa Quarterman. There was a sense of pride and gratitude as the Effingham County High School community celebrated the retiring teachers, the outstanding achievements of Flight ALPHA, and the school's receipt of the distinguished unit award. The event served as a reminder of the dedication and commitment displayed by individuals and the entire school in fostering excellence and shaping the future generation.