By Muriel Smith
FREEHOLD – Eighty cadets from the Marine Academy of Science and Technology (MAST) NJROTC unit were honored Thursday night at the regular meeting of the Board of Freeholders, when each received a certificate of appreciation and the day was proclaimed MAST Day in Monmouth County.
Freeholder Lillian Burry brought the honors to the high school students citing their first place awards in senior and freshman divisions of drill competitions. The senior team placed first in three of the four, second in the fourth at the senior level, while both the senior and freshmen teams took all the top honors in the academics portion of the events. MAST’s varsity Color Guard led by Cadets Steven Vieira and Kyle McKean also is undefeated in each of the competitions. The Color Guard opened the meeting Thursday night and presented colors for the pledge of allegiance which starts every freeholder meeting.
In making the presentations, Mrs. Burry told the cadets “we are here to honor you!” for their excellence in competitions and noted the school, founded in 1981 with an accent on marine science and technology, also honors the nation’s maritime heritage and exemplifies leadership, teamwork and attention to detail through the NJROTC program.
In accepting citations for each of the cadets in the drill competition, Senior Naval instructor CDR Tracie Smith-Yeoman (USN ret) thanked the freeholders for their support of the school, as well as Monmouth County Vocational School District Superintendent Tim McCorkle who oversees each of the five county-operated career academies. She explained that while every student in the school is a member of NJROTC, only about ten per cent go on to careers in the military. However, because of the discipline and excellence of the MAST program, “all will go on to accomplish great things in whatever field they choose to work.”