Story by Cpl Krista James on 07/01/2019For J.R. Arnold High School Sophomore Jordan McConnell, leadership is defining character trait. Because of his exceptional leadership ability in his school and community, McConnell has been chosen as one of 200 students across the U.S. to participate in the Summer Leadership and Character Development Academy, or SLCDA, at Marine Corps Base Quantico, Virginia, July 15-20. During the academy, he will learn about the Marine Corps mission, core values, military culture and leadership principles.
McConnell, a patrol leader with the Boy Scouts Gulf Coast Council, Troupe 317, and a JROTC cadet at his school, said he is inspired by those who succeed in his community. He said his greatest inspiration comes from his mentors.
"My mentors in life are my scoutmasters, Chris Voorheis and Jeff Neitzke," said McConnell. "Both have seen me through different times in my scouting career and in normal day-to-day life. Both show you that you can be happy with whatever you choose in life and that life is more than you."
McConnell said his family has always supported him and encouaged him to approach the future with optimism.
McConnell has also demonstrated leadership through volunteerism. The most notable example was when he helped distribute welfare checks for the police station after Hurricane Michael hit his hometown. He has also helped volunteer with the Boy Scouts and through JROTC.
Individually, McConnell's greatest accomplishment came during a flight academy in Pensacola, Florida, where he was selected out of 206 attendees as the Airplane Experimental Pilot of the week, he said.
When he is not working with the Boy Scouts, JROTC, engrossed with academics, or flying, McConnell enjoys lifeguarding at his local pool, playing banjo, bass guitar, tuba, and running.
McConnell plans to attend the Naval Academy after high school to become a Marine Corps officer and pilot.