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story.lead_photo.caption Hope High School student Briana Rodriguez, right, was named Air Force Association Cadet of the Year in Arkansas. Presenting the award was retired U.S. Air Force Col. David Mason.

HOPE—Hope High School Air Force Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps Cadet 2nd Lt. Briana Rodriguez is the 2019 Air Force Association Cadet of the Year in Arkansas.

Rodriguez was awarded the state's AFJROTC highest individual honor during awards presentation for the HHS AR-20101 unit assembly May 7 at Hope High School.

Retried U.S. Air Force Col. David Mason presented the citation and award to Rodriguez upon the nomination of HHS senior aerospace science instructor, retired Lt. Col. Mark Hart.

Hart cited Rodriguez's growth in cadet leadership as a sophomore student and second-year cadet at Hope High School in his nomination.

"Cadet Rodriguez is an intelligent and energetic leader," Hart wrote. "Her passion for the AFJROTC program is very evident."

Rodriguez was cited for accomplishments throughout the academic year at Hope, including accumulation of 49 community service hours, leading eight color guard units, participation in six curriculum-in-action field trips and one fundraising event.

"During our recent move to a new classroom location in a different building, Cadet Rodriguez spearheaded a team effort of inventorying, sorting, and organizing military uniforms and office supplies," Hart wrote.

Rodriguez is also credited with creating the Airman Cadet Emergency or ACE box concept of necessary travel items for an individual cadet that has been put into use in the unit.

She has served as commander, color guard team C; logistics officer-in-charge; airman's ball committee member; HHS student council representative; Future Farmers of America team member; and is active in youth activities at her church.

(Ken McLemore is communications director for Hope Public Schools. His email is, or he can be phoned at 501-519-0530.)