UTICA — For the first time in its 44-year history, the Notre Dame Naval Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (NJROTC) Unit has been named as a “Distinguished Unit with Honors” by the Navy for NJROTC Area Four.

Only 11 of the 59 units in the area earned this distinction for the 2016-2017 school year.  It is the first time a school in the Mohawk Valley has ever achieved this distinction, and it is the highest honor that can be bestowed upon a unit.

This end-of-year award is based on superior performance and outstanding achievement in academics, physical fitness, and marksmanship competitions; cadet involvement; and community service. Area Four includes 59 units from the Northeastern United States, as well as units in Italy and Spain.

Commanding Officer Sarah Kupiec stated, “I have never felt so honored to be a part of anything in my entire life. Words do not quite explain how proud I am of the cadets in the unit. They have pushed the limits of accomplishment and strived to only give their very best. With the privilege of leading a Distinguished Unit with Honors, I attribute this remarkable award to the dedication, loyalty, and passion embedded within each member of this NJROTC program. As my senior year comes to an end, I cannot imagine a more fulfilling feeling than to graduate knowing I was able to work with such tremendous young adults.”

The award was partly based on the unit’s more than 7,000 documented community-service hours, which more than doubled the amount from the previous year. Notre Dame NJROTC Senior Naval Science Instructor Lt. Terry LaBeff said, “It is a great honor to be a part of this unit and to see our cadets, who have dedicated themselves to so many hours of selfless service, be recognized with this prestigious award.”

As a result of the award designation, Notre Dame’s NJROTC unit may nominate three eligible NJROTC cadets as candidates for appointment to the U.S. Naval Academy, three for appointment to the U.S. Military Academy, and three for appointment to the U.S. Air Force Academy.

For more information about Notre Dame, please visit www.notredameutica.org or call (315) 724-5118, ext. 35.

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