Honors galore for Como students, staff, alumni

By Eric Erickson

Here is some notable news from Como Park Senior High School:

• The Marine Corps Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps at Como Park Senior High School has been recognized as a National Honor School Program for 2020. The award is reserved for the top 20 percent of all MCJROTC programs across the nation.

In 2019, the Como cadets were ranked eighth nationally. For 2020, they rose to fourth place. The ranking is based on several factors including volunteer campaigns, leadership camps, competition performances, grade point averages, MCJROTC academies and camaraderie.

“We never really understood just how well we were actually doing because for our team this is normal,” said commanding officer Lt. Col. Ever Bless. “It’s normal for the cadets to be working, pushing, competing, serving, traveling and just doing what we do. So, to see our vision come true again was shocking to all of us even under these turbulent times.”

Sgt. Maj. James C. Kirkland is currently serving his eighth year as the senior Marine instructor at Como. He said he has been consistently impressed with the growth of the cadets and the impact of resilient leadership within the group.

“There’s a level of maturity built in, and the ‘take charge’ attitude of the cadets with high motivation is just kind of refreshing during these overwhelming and tumultuous times,” Kirkland said.

• Como teacher Kathy Romero received the Educator of Excellence award from BestPrep, a Minnesota nonprofit, for the 2019-2020 school year. Over 600 educators participate annually in BestPrep, which provides educational programs to prepare students with business, career and financial literacy skills through hands-on experiences. The Educator of Excellence Awards recognize educators who go above and beyond in their commitment to educating Minnesota youth. Romero was recognized for her dedication and work in the Cloud Coach program at Como, an online mentorship experience that connects students to business professionals.

• Ku Mo, from Como’s class of 2020, was selected as a recipient of the state’s Outstanding Refugee Award. The Minnesota Department of Human Services honored 10 recipients for their actions.

Ku Mo worked on a project to fix computers and give them to families in need, volunteered on additional community service projects and tutored younger students. Ku Mo is a Karenni refugee who is now a freshman at the University of Minnesota.

Eric Erickson is a social studies teacher at Como Park High School.

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