Braden River High School cadets, instructor receive scholarships, awards from local VFW

BRADENTON -- Braden River High School Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps cadets have received scholarships and awards from their local VFW Post. and an instructor has been honored as teacher of the year.

Veterans of Foreign Wars, Post 12055, presented the Leo Perisian Memorial Scholarship to Braden River High School ROTC cadets Alexis Yawn and Ben Martin, each receiving $1,000 to help with furthering their educations.

Leo Perisian was a World War II veteran and a founding member of the East Manatee Post in Bradenton. He served in the 517th Parachute Army Infantry Regiment in World War II.

Post 12055 also awarded Braden River High School cadets Kyle Fortin and Treante Hall with the VFW JROTC Medal, recognizing them for outstanding achievement and exceptional leadership abilities.

Five Braden River High School cadets received $100 each for their winning entries in the Voice of Democracy Essay Contest.

Each year, nearly 38,000 high-school students from across the country enter to win a share of $2.2 million dollars in educational scholarships and incentives awarded by the annual VFW competition. Cadets need a grade point average of 3.5 or higher to qualify for the scholarship.

Winning cadets were: Payton Blaton, who also finished third in his district; Wendy Rios; Ryan Calhoun; Chris Cooper; and Gabriella Stockton.

Braden River High School instructor Alexander Figueroa won the Veterans of Foreign Wars Teacher of the Year. The VFW Post 12055 presented Command Sgt. Maj. Figueroa with the honor during a special awards ceremony held on April 24 at the high school.

The award recognizes exceptional teachers from elementary, junior and high schools for their outstanding commitments to teaching students Americanism and patriotism.

CSM Figueroa served nearly 26 years in the U.S. Army in various duties in the United States and overseas. He is a veteran of Desert Shield, Desert Storm and Iraqi Freedom II and has been serving as a JROTC instructor since 2010 when he retired from active duty.

Kathryn Moschella, Lakewood Ranch reporter can be reached at 941-745-7010. Follow her on Twitter@MoschellaHerald.