WAIMEA — Waimea High School Jr. ROTC Cadet LTC Angelica Huyen Tran of Hanapepe was awarded the Legion of Valor Bronze Cross for Achievement on Friday during the annual Federal Inspection of the Waimea battalion.
“This is the first time a Hawai‘i state cadet has received this honor,” said Major Victor Aguilar, commander of the Waimea battalion. “She is one of only two cadets from 24,000 to receive this award.”
Aguilar said the Legion of Valor of the United States of America, to stimulate development of leadership, presents an award annually for achievement of scholastic excellence in military and academic subjects.
Tran, the daughter of Tam and Evelyn Tran, was presented the award by retired Col. Jerald Knudsen, former leader of the Kapa‘a High School Jr. ROTC program, and joined by Nely Caberto, the Waimea High School principal, Nancy Budd of the state Board of Education, William Arakaki, the Kaua‘i Area Complex superintendent, as well as federal inspectors, Lt. Col. Les Bise, Deputy Hawai‘i Multiple School Unit Commander, and Sgt. First Class Chris Baroldy of the 8th Brigade, Fort Lewis, Wash.
The award includes a bronze cross and certificate and is presented to an outstanding fourth-year cadet, the number of awards authorized being one for every 4,000 cadets enrolled in an Army Jr. ROTC brigade or overseas command.
Tran met the criteria for the Legion of Valor Bronze Cross for Achievement due to her many academic achievements, some of which include the Presidential Award for Academic Excellence in 2008, Waimea High School Principal’s List from 2008 through 2011, a fifth place at the Waimea High School Science Fair in 2009, an Honorable Mention at the Kaua‘i District Science Fair in 2009 and Star Reading Award for reading 1 million words in 2009.
Her Jr. ROTC awards include the JROTC Superior Cadet Award, the American Legion Academic Scholar medal, the King’s Guard Drill medal, the George C. Marshall Foundation Leadership Award and the MacArthur Foundation Leadership and Academic Award.
Additionally, Tran earned the cadet challenge athletic medals for third and fourth place, and applied for and was selected for the Pacific and Asian Affairs Council Travel Program Summer Study Tour Scholarship.
Tran was also a member of the Waimea Jr. ROTC Leadership Academic Bowl team which came in first in Hawai‘i and 8th Brigade, advancing to the National Jr. ROTC Leadership Academic Bowl at George Mason University where the team placed eighth of 48 teams, nationally, in 2010.
More recently, Tran has been identified as being a National Merit Semi-Finalist, indicating she scored in the top one percent in the nation on her PSAT.
Aguilar said Tran is a very capable, conscientious, dependable and self-driven individual who has developed into both a role model and leader.
Following her graduation as likely one of the Waimea High School valedictorians, she plans on attending the University of Southern California majoring in electrical engineering.
Aguilar said the Waimea Jr. ROTC program has 128 cadets out of the 630 students enrolled at Waimea High School, or about 20 percent of the school’s student population.