Story and Photo by: 1SG (R) Karen Williams
Cadet Destinee Martin (left) and Cadet Ayaela-Elaine Louis-Riley (right) reigned as the top two high school graduating students in the senior Class of 2023. Cadet Martin and Cadet Louis-Riley are proud of Ivanna Eudora Kean High School (IEKHS) graduates in St Thomas, Virgin Islands. In addition to their selections as Valedictorian and Salutatorian, both students completed four years as JROTC cadets of the Mighty Rays Battalions at IEKHS.
Cadet Martin (Valedictorian) has held numerous positions as Squad Leader, Platoon Sergeant, and Educational Officer. She was also a member of the JLAB team and has accumulated countless community service hours, which helped to bring much attention to the sacrifice and dedication the Mighty Rays Battalion contributes to the community. Martin selflessly volunteered for events such as community clean-up projects, school area beautification, and helping to feed those less fortunate.
Cadet Louis Riley (Salutatorian) has held positions as squad leader, Executive Officer, and Company Commander. She, too, played a pivotal role in the success of numerous JROTC events, such as the annual JROTC ball, the Veteran’s Day parades, and the battalion’s service learning projects. Cadet Louis-Riley is familiar with mentoring and molding new students into great cadets. She motivated her young company of cadets to increase their Cadet Challenge score by 30 percent.
Lastly, these two cadets have left a pathway for many cadets and students to follow. Amongst their many accolades, both received a full scholarship to the University of Virgin Islands. Cadet Martin was also selected for the prestigious (Bill) Gates Scholarship, among other accredited scholarships valued at thousands of dollars.