Seven Chiefs Promoted to Rank of Sergeant

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In its first year, the Criminal Justice Academy is already successful. During a promotion ceremony recently, seven students earned the rank of sergeant – senior Christopher Barnikel, freshman Carolee Campos, sophomore Payton Jordan, senior Marlena Kenol, senior Jonathan Loftis, senior Kali Payne, and freshman Timothy Schwab.

“It’s just me taking a step into life,” said Sgt. Carolee Campos, a sophomore.  “Me being more of a leader and to find my place for the future.”

Senior Maria Diaz acted as the master of ceremonies for the event at the Performing Arts Center. The program began with the presentation of the colors flag ceremony by the Santaluces JROTC and was followed by the National Anthem, performed by senior Danyele James.

Dr. Weigel was the first to address the audience. Weigel has called the development of the Criminal Justice Academy “my dream realized.” She showed the same amount of excitement and pride in the newly promoted sergeants.

“It’s another milestone,” said Dr. Weigel. “I mean, last year, we had ROTC and that was a stepping stone. Now, we have Criminal Justice which is another stepping stone to a place we’ve never been before.”

In the near future, said she hopes to introduce a medical academy.

Palm Beach County Sheriff Ric Bradshaw spoke as well as Palm Beach County School District Police Chief Lawrence Leon.

“It’s a fantastic program and it’s not all about the law enforcement,” said Sheriff  Bradshaw. “We hope some of them come into law enforcement because it gives us good candidates.”

After Chief Leon’s speech, the seven students were invited to the stage by Criminal Justice instructor and Sheriff’s Deputy Karl Martin.

Chief of Delray Beach Police Anthony Strianese, Chief of Lantana Police Sean Scheller, Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office Colonel James Stormes, Sheriff Bradshaw, and Chief Leon presented the students with their certificates. The other criminal justice students were there to honor their newly promoted classmates and stood as the seven received their promotions.

“It’s not all schoolwork,” said Sgt. Timothy Schwab, a freshman. “It’s interacting with real officers. You get to see the K-9 unit, SWAT, all that kind of stuff.”

The audience was made up of the Criminal Justice students, their parents, and police officers. Local news channels for ABC, CBS, and NBC covered the ceremony, along with TEN, The Education Network. Palm Beach County School Board members also attended the event, including Area Director Valerie Haines, Area Superintendent Rod Montgomery, Board Chairman Chuck Shaw, as well as board members Karen Brill, Jennifer Prior Brown, and Frank Barbieri, Jr. 

Dr. Weigel provided cake and refreshments for the parents, sergeants, and officers in the lobby of the Performance Arts Center. And after the ceremony, the sergeants were congratulated by their peers, parents, administrators, and instructors, Deputy Martin and  Officer Hargrove.
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