William Floyd High School senior Xander Shirley, a platoon commander in the school’s NJROTC, has been selected to receive the Legion of Valor Bronze Cross for Achievement ROTC award, one of the top recognitions for high school and college ROTC cadets. Shirley is just one of only 22 recipients nationwide and one of two cadets in NJROTC Area 4 which is comprised of 57 units in the northeastern corridor of the United States (10 states), as well as units in Italy and Spain. Captain David Wright, USN, presented Cadet Shirley with the award at the conclusion of the unit’s Annual Military Inspection held last week.
The Legion of Valor Bronze Cross for Achievement ROTC Award is a national award given annually by the Legion of Valor of the United States of America to cadets who demonstrate excellence in military and academic subjects selected by a committee of decorated veterans who have received such awards as the Medal of Honor, Distinguished Service Cross, Navy Cross and Air Force Cross. Nominees are considered on several stringent qualifications including extracurricular activities and leadership abilities. Shirley has excelled in his naval science studies and his academics and is currently ranked in the top 10 percent of his graduating class. He also plays the cello in the high school orchestra and has been a member of the junior varsity lacrosse team as a sophomore and junior.
William Floyd Naval science instructor Commander Jay Tweed (USN/Ret.) nominated Xander for his work ethic, leadership abilities, academics and more. “Cadet Shirley sets an outstanding example for his peers of doing the right thing the right way,” said Commander Tweed.
Shirley is honored to receive the award and is pleased to know that his hard work and effort throughout his nearly four years as a member of the NJROTC has resulted in this prestigious honor. Reflecting upon his time as a cadet, he said, “NJROTC has taught me important skills like teamwork and being a productive member of the community.”
He is the third cadet in William Floyd history to receive this award putting him in the company of fellow recipients Jeffrey Gao (WF Class of 2013), a U.S. Naval Academy alumnus who is currently a Navy Flight School candidate stationed in Pensacola, Florida, and Sara Tartaglione (WF Class of 2012), who is currently a Navy nurse stationed at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina.
Last summer, Shirley had the opportunity to participate in the American Legion Boys State program on the campus of SUNY Morrisville, where he participated in mock government which included legislative sessions, court proceedings, law enforcement presentations, assemblies, etc. He also regularly volunteers with his fellow cadets to assist Boots on the Ground NY, an organization that provides support to service members and veterans in numerous ways including sending care packages, food and so much more.
After graduation, Shirley plans on studying electrical engineering. He has applications out to several colleges; his three top choices are currently Penn State University, SUNY Maritime College and Stony Brook University.
Xander Shirley attended William Floyd schools K-12 including Nathaniel Woodhull Elementary School and William Paca Middle School.