Thumbs up, appropriately enough on Memorial Day weekend, to the E.C. Glass High School Air Force JROTC program on the occasion of its 50th anniversary.

The program began in 1968 and is one of 900 units, according to Lt. Col. Les Pratt, program instructor. The only other programs in Central Virginia are the U.S. Army’s JROTC program serving the three Bedford County public high schools and the U.S. Marine Corps JROTC program at Heritage High School in Lynchburg.

The oldest by far, though, is Glass’ Air Force program. “It’s just really special to be a part of something that’s endured for so long and has such a legacy of excellence of helping young men and women succeed,” Pratt told The News & Advance earlier this week.

The program, Pratt said, is “run for cadets, by the cadets” and helps instill in the students the life skills they’ll need for success in the future, whether it’s in a vocation, college or a career in the military.

This year, 10 out of a total of 88 cadets are graduating. Because the Air Force requires an enrollment of a tenth of the school population or 100 students, whichever is less, Pratt is hoping to recruit at least 12 students to join.

Let’s carry on this Glass tradition another half-century, folks!

* * *

Thumbs up to Stephanie Ayers, Central Virginia’s newest Juvenile & Domestic Relations Court judge.

Ayers formerly served as deputy commonwealth’s attorney in Bedford County. The General Assembly approved her nomination to the J&D bench, and she was sworn in on May 22 during a ceremony with family, friends and colleagues in attendance.

She’ll begin hearing cases July 1 as she presides in Bedford County and Lynchburg.

Ayers, who’s a native of Bedford County, graduated from Staunton River High School in 1993 and went to college at the University of Virginia. While interning at the Bedford Circuit Court Clerk’s Office, she realized a career in law was calling her. She worked in private practice for three years and became a member of the commonwealth’s office in 2003.

Congratulations, Judge Ayers, on this major career accomplishment.

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