On February 26, 2020, Sarasota Military Academy (SMA), a local, public charter school, was one of 130 locations throughout the country selected as a host location for the first nationwide oath of enlistment ceremony. The oath, administered by U.S. Army Colonel and NASA Astronaut, Andrew Morgan, was streamed live across the nation to students enlisting in the Armed Forces.
“This is an incredible honor not only for our cadets and our local future soldiers, but our nation as a whole. The students who participated in this experience had the unique opportunity to be a part of the first ever enlistment ceremony conducted from space, which is an incredible reward to the commitment made by our future leaders and global citizens,” said SMA-COL Christina Bowman, Sarasota Military Executive Director of Schools. “While the cadets were swearing their oath to protect their country and fellow Americans, there was such an overwhelming feeling of pride from every single person in the room. We are so proud and grateful to everyone who played a role in making history through this experience, and we are honored that SMA was selected to host such a ground-breaking event.”
With more than 800 students around the nation taking the oath, 23 local students attended the ceremony at Sarasota Military Academy. Eight seniors from Sarasota Military Academy participated: Shelby Young, Jennifer Cerezo-Portillo, Jocelyn Duron-Robledo, Skye Janneman, Justin Turner, Michael Parsels, Cody Greenough and William “Blake” Wilkinson.
The students, from local schools including Sarasota Military Academy, Venice High School, Riverview High School, Port Charlotte High School, Charlotte High School, North Port High School, New College of Florida, Fort Myers High School, South Fort Myers High School, Southeast High School and Estero High School, swore an oath through a partnership between the Space Center Houston, NASA and U.S. Army Recruiting Command. Recruiters from Sarasota Recruiting Company were on hand to assist with questions and informational requests.
During the live stream, Col. Morgan noted that the International Space Station (ISS) is currently orbiting the Earth at more than 17,000 miles per hour, with 16 orbits per day, 250 miles above the Earth. Col. Morgan gave advice regarding his military career and his experience as an astronaut and answered student questions. The ceremony was facilitated by Brig. Gen. Patrick Michaelis, the U.S. Army Recruiting Command (USARC) Deputy Commanding General.
Students across the nation were asked to submit questions to be answered by Col. Morgan, and a question submitted by SMA Cadet Shelby Young was asked and answered by the astronaut during the live stream.
The enlistment ceremony was streamed via NASA TV and the Army’s official YouTube and Facebook pages. To view a stream of the video, visit https://bit.ly/32v3Cjk. To view the original release, distributed by the U.S. Army, visit https://bit.ly/2T39vkE.
About Sarasota Military Academy
Founded in 2002, Sarasota Military Academy (SMA) is a public charter school, college preparatory academy and an accredited IB Diploma and Middle Years Programme (MYP) School with two campuses located in Sarasota, Florida. Combining extraordinary academics with the highest military principles of camaraderie, focus, leadership, integrity, compassion, poise, honor, and respect, SMA’s mission is to graduate young men and women who will confidently define their personal and unique goals for success in a multi-cultural and globalized world. Sarasota Military Academy High School is located at 801 N. Orange Avenue and Sarasota Military Academy Prep Middle School, is located at 3101 Bethel Lane. To learn more about SMA, visit http://www.sarasotamilitaryacademy.org/.