A JROTC cadet from Van Horn High School has been selected as the American Legion Cadet of the Year for Missouri.

Cadet Maj. Leeland Lityma, a senior and 4th year JROTC cadet, was selected for earning a cumulative GPA of 3.8, being  ranked in the upper 10 percent of his graduating class, and being active and successful across the full spectrum of high school activities.

Lityma is also a McCoy Medal winner and a member of the varsity wrestling team at Van Horn, as well as being active in his local church as a member of the youth group.

Mark R. Clark, Post Commander of Tirey J Ford, Post 21 American Legion in Independence,  shared the pride and excitement of this local success. “…Outstanding selection, an outstanding cadet, all of us at Post 21 wish Cadet Lityma well in his future and appreciate what he has done for his school and community…”

Cadet Lityma also previously attended Missouri Boys State sponsored by American Legion Post 21. He has been invited to speak at the post's monthly meeting on March 6.

Lt. Col.-Retired Mike Byrd, Senior JROTC Instructor at Van Horn High School, was not surprised by the selection, saying, “our nominated cadet is a great candidate for this prestigious honor, but the notification seemed slow in coming, and with the pace of the school year I had sort of forgotten we had nominated a cadet leader to be considered…”

In addition to a very nice plaque, the cadet selected also receives at $500 scholarship paid during his/her first semester of college.

Cadet Lityma's plans after graduation include college, where he plans to participate in the Army ROTC program. Concurrent with earning his academic degree, he will also earn his commission in the United States Army as a second lieutenant. In December, he was notified he had been accepted to the University of Missouri to begin classes in the fall of 2014.