Chamber, JROTC partnership earns CEDA Award

COURTESYThe Aberdeen High School JROTC and Monroe County Chamber of Commerce were recently awarded a Mississippi Economic Development Council Community Economic Development Award. From left, Sgt. James McCartney, Courtney Johnson, Jose Gonzalez, Cameron Cockerham, Hunter Jackson, Aberdeen School District Conservator Mac Curlee, Monroe County Chamber of Commerce Chairman Marsha Ballard and chamber director Skip Scaggs.

ABERDEEN – As noted in the Aberdeen School District's February agenda, the Aberdeen High School JROTC is still enjoying a whirlwind of success through its partnership with the Monroe County Chamber of Commerce. The program partnered with the chamber in late 2014 to document industrial sites by its unmanned aerial vehicle, which won a 2015 Mississippi Association of Partnerships in Education Governor's Award.

The JROTC followed up with that success Feb. 4 by receiving a Mississippi Economic Development Council Community Economic Development Award (CEDA).

The CEDA program recognizes outstanding contributions of communities in categories such as business retention and expansion, business recruitment, community development and community involvement.

The JROTC has been using aviation studies, and the recent award of a Phantom II drone as an enticement for students to focus on STEM courses. Based on a passing conversation between chamber director Skip Scaggs and former JROTC instructor Lt. Col. Jeff Coggin, the idea was hatched to utilize cadets to support a community/economic development mission.

With guidance from the chamber on economic development marketing, cadets utilized their drone to complete two missions and provide new aerial photography of industrial sites in the county. The images have been used in multiple presentations and have moved the needle for Monroe County’s competitive position.

In other business in the district's agenda, ASD Conservator Mac Curlee approved:

• A field trip request by AHS World History teacher Jean Hoffheimer.

• A fundraiser request by Coach Thomas Clay and the AHS baseball team.

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