Three Omaha metro area high school students involved in the U.S. military’s Junior Reserve Officers' Training Corps program recently were singled out for impressive awards.

In the Army JROTC program, Marie Burks of Benson High and Loredmi Camacho of Bryan High were honored. They were among 27 recipients, among some 314,000 high school cadets across the U.S., three U.S. territories and in U.S. Department of Defense schools overseas to receive the JROTC Legion of Valor Bronze Cross.

This is the organization’s second-highest honor and given to high school students who make top grades in school and in their military coursework.

Burks, 18, is the daughter of Jed and Callie Burks. She is battalion commander for Benson. She also has a 4.3 grade-point average and is involved in the cheer team, National Honor Society, academic bowl team and Benson High ambassador program. She plans to become a military medical officer and attend college.

Camacho is the daughter of Roman Camacho and Celsa Ruiz. She is battalion commander for Bryan High School. She is ranked third in her class and has a 4.46 GPA. She is also Bryan senior class treasurer, a member of National Honor Society, Science Olympiad and other academic and leadership programs. She has enlisted in the U.S. Army and wants to become a military engineer.

Other service branches have JROTC programs, too, and another metro area youth won the Navy JROTC honor, awarded to 22 high school students nationwide.

Luke Sumpter of Papillion-La Vista South High School won the Legion of Valor Bronze Cross award this year.

The 17-year-old senior has a 4.35 GPA and is also involved in school and community activities, including the National Honor Society, superintendent's advisory council and Papillion Mayor’s Youth Council. He is an Eagle Scout, practices taekwondo and volunteers at an assisted living facility and his church. He is also company commander of the Papillion-LaVista district's NJROTC program.

He is the son of Wayne and Karen Sumpter.

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Metro columnist

Columnist Erin Grace has covered a variety of beats since she started at The World-Herald in 1998 — from education to City Hall and from the city's western suburbs to its inner-city neighborhoods. Follow her on Twitter @ErinGraceOWH. Phone: 402-444-1136.

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