Watson Chapel High School JROTC cadet Xavier Westmoreland was awarded the Legion of Valor Bronze Cross for Achievement, an honor bestowed upon only 100 of the nearly 300,000 ROTC cadets in the nation, officials said.

Watson Chapel High School JROTC cadet Xavier Westmoreland was awarded the Legion of Valor Bronze Cross for Achievement, an honor bestowed upon only 100 of the nearly 300,000 ROTC cadets in the nation, officials said.

At a ceremony in the Watson Chapel Junior High School gymnasium Thursday, Westmoreland was presented with the award by Col. Bridget Rourke, commander of the 5th Brigade, U.S. Army Cadet Command at Fort Sam Houston, Texas.

Lt. Col. Stan L. Warrick, Chapel JROTC senior Army instructor, said Rourke is responsible for Army ROTC college programs and Army JROTC high school programs in Arkansas, Texas, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Colorado, Arizona, Utah and Wyoming.

Rourke said only 100 Legion of Honor Bronze Cross awards are presented every year.

“There is such a high standard to achieve this award,” Rourke said. “It recognizes the whole person; community service, leadership, sports, and academics. Only a handful of people receive it.”

“We are here to honor cadet Westmoreland for being an outstanding student and cadet,” Rourke said. “He has demonstrated leadership on the basketball court, in the classroom, in his church and in his community. Due to his extensive community involvement there are an awful lot of leaders who had an impact on his life.”

“ROTC is all about preparing people to be good citizens of this country,” Rourke said. “I want to thank cadet Westmoreland for setting such a great example and I challenge all of you here today to become the next cadet Westmoreland.”

Rourke said that Westmoreland is an accessible role model for his classmates and friends.

“The health of every unit is made up of the examples that its leaders set,” Rourke said. “Cadet Westmoreland sits in the same classroom as these other students. He is a role model that they can relate to. He is approachable. They all know that they have a chance to be like him.”

Westmoreland himself was honored to have been chosen to receive the Bronze Cross.

“This award is an extreme honor,” Westmoreland said in a conversation shortly before the start of the ceremony. “It means a great deal to me. It is a very esteemed award.”

Westmoreland, who is a senior, said that he plans to attend the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff on a four year ROTC scholarship and study to become a physical therapist.

“I plan to major in biology and minor in pre-med,” Westmoreland said of his future plans. “After that I hope to get into medical school.”

Warrick said that during the 38 year history of the JROTC program in the Watson Chapel School District, Westmoreland is only the third cadet to receive the Bronze Cross.

“In the state of Arkansas only two are being awarded this year,” Warrick said.

“Overall, I rank Cadet Xavier Westmoreland as the best I have ever observed and strongly recommend him for this Legion of Valor Bronze Cross for Achievement,” Warrick said in a May 2011 memorandum nominating Westmoreland to receive the award.