Cadets Graduate from Airman Academy 

While most teens spent their school vacation week relaxing or hanging out with friends, one group of dedicated students spent their time off getting up at the crack of dawn and pushing themselves to the limit.They attended the Maine Wing “airman Academy,” run by the Civil Air Patrol.Amy Erickson was at today’s graduation ceremony.”I had lots of fun.”This wasn’t Max Hutchins’ usual April vacation.Instead of playing video games or hanging out with his friends, he spent the week at the Air National Guard base as a cadet in the Airman Academy.About two dozen kids, ages 12 to 19, took part in the program, which helps them learn and mature…and explore future career opportunities. “It also gives them a good introduction to how the program works as far as how to set up a military room, a military bed, learning how to drill together as a flight and instilling some of the character values we’re looking for. Integrity, honor, self-discipline…those types of things.”Lori Renzullo is the Academy’s commander.She says the difference she sees in the cadets after only a few days is remarkable. “they’ll have a great more self respect them for themselves and they’ll leave here knowing they’ve accomplished something that was hard and that took a lot from themselves. We moved them out of their comfort zone and made sure they really pushed themselves this week.” “I hope to get lots of rank and get to major general.”Like many of the cadets in the program, 12-year-old Kimberly Plummer has military aspirations. “Because it gives me more discipline and even though there’s a lot of yelling…it helps me be more organized.””I would like to join the air force.”This was Max Hutchins’ first time in the program. He says it’s given him a good foundation for military life. “I learned a lot of respect for higher ranks.” “learned more drilling, which is a lot of teamwork.” “It was hard, but well worth it.”Renzullo says she’s impressed with the maturity these young cadets have shown this week. “they give up their school vacation, that coveted time off from school, to take classes, get up at 5 am and do physical training and drill. It shows a real high level of dedication to the program.”Amy Erickson, WABI TV5 News, Bangor.>