After 30 Years, Roberto Clemente is Still Home for Us
Seven Roberto Clemente alumni from Roberto Clemente Community Academy’s JROTC program returned home after 30 years to once again walk the halls they crossed as teenagers between classes, pass along their life’s lessons to our current JROTC Cadets and to remember a fallen cadet who gave his all in the service of his nation. Two traveled from as far away as Florida and Wisconsin, and all took time off from work to spend the day with 150 cadets.
In attendance were Mr. Larry Trice, class of 1985, Investigator for Peoples Gas, Alicia Gonzales, class of 1989, Gateway Technical College, Juan Fontanez, class of 1987, Auto Zone Manager, SFC (Ret) Jose Fabre, class of 1986, JROTC Instructor Liberty HS, Kissimmee Florida, Susane Rosado, class of 1988, Office Manager, Maria Herrera, class of 1988, Executive Assistant and Robert Rojas, class of 1988, Assistant Director of Information Technology. Little did they imagine 30 years ago that a life-long bond was formed in their JROTC classrooms and drill hall. Each had their own unique story to tell, but all shared a common thread. All shared the importance of education and leadership, to always have a plan, to never let life’s hurdles stop you from seeing your dreams become your reality, and to never give up on yourself.
It’s been 30 years for some of the alumni, but they all said it seems just like yesterday. Although their paths in life have taken them in many directions and miles apart, Mr. Larry Trice told the cadets, “This is home for us.”
As the last bell rang, these seven stood in silence, laid a wreath, and paid tribute to a fellow Clemente JROTC Cadet. Army Staff Sgt. Oscar D. Vargas Medina, 32 (class of 1989) assigned to the 84th Engineer Battalion, 25th Infantry Division (Light) Schofield Barracks, Honolulu, Hawaii, died May 1 2004 when his convoy was attacked in Amarah, Iraq while he served his nation.
CW3 Silver stated, “JROTC is not a recruiting tool for the military. We teach leadership, citizenship, selfless-service, personal responsibility, patriotism and stress higher education. Each of our cadets are special in their own way. Staff Sgt. Medina is an example of a cadet who followed a path less traveled.”