Lexington High School’s Zachary W. Kearney earned national recognition for both an outstanding record in the classroom and as a cadet in uniform. A junior, Kearney holds the rank of Cadet Senior Airman in LHS’s Air Force JROTC.

Kearney received the JROTC Award for Excellence in Academics from the Celebrate Freedom Foundation, a locally based organization that provides educational opportunities while promoting military service and STEM careers.

Cadets must demonstrate initiative and self-confidence, take responsibility within their unit, allow for personal growth, have a desire to pursue a military career and rank in the top 15 percent of his/her academic class to be eligible for the JROTC Award for Excellence in Academics.

Kearney received the award with Highest Distinction, an additional commendation given by the Blue Star Mothers. His essay received the top score in the nation.

Retired Lt. Col. Bobby McDonald, LHS AFJROTC instructor, nominated Kearney for being one of the top cadets in the program.

“He volunteers for every community service event we have,” McDonald said. “Last year, he accumulated more than 15 hours of community service. He is an active member of our color guard team that presents the colors at varsity football games and many other major school events. Despite his busy schedule, he manages to maintain a 4.4 GPA.”