Thanksgiving is a holiday near and dear to many people’s lives. It’s a time to give thanks to those around you and appreciate the things they do for you and others. Whether it be a family member or friend, it’s easy to thank them for their love and support. Yet, there is a plethora of people around us who deserve to be acknowledged for the good they do. One of those people in particular is junior Melina Priore. 

“I give back to my peers by showing my titan spirit by showing how great this school is so they can try their best,” Priore said. “I also get calls from my friends or my classmates to help them study. I love motivating people to try to their best because I love seeing them succeed.”  

Priore is known for being a hard-working and dedicated student, on and off campus. Several teachers have raved about her accomplishments and praised the amount of time she has committed to her school and activities. 

“She is a Volusia County Police Explorer, a member of JROTC, Alpha Company Executive Officer (XO), is a member of the JROTC Raider team, has a 3.5 GPA, near perfect attendance, and has amassed well over 100 community service hours,” Master Sergeant Louis Beldotti said.

Photo by Carson Francis

Priore credits the positive influences in her life for leading her to her success. If it wasn’t for them, her life would be drastically different.

“My friend Ila Falstreau is the one who told me to stay and see if I liked the program [JROTC], and I do so much,” Priore said. “I wanted out of the class but Ila changed my perspective. My brother influenced me to join the Orange City Police Explorers. I always wanted to follow in his footsteps because I look up to him.”

Priore has made many accomplishments in the now going on three years she has been in the JROTC program, including making friends and helping them.

“When I first met her I was her squad leader…she would actually help me out with my squad and other squads, which was really exceptional for her being a first year cadet,” senior Ila Falstreau said. “I’ve noticed a lot of cadets look up to her, even I do and she’s one year below me because she’s outstanding.”

She has not only her friends to thank for her success but the adults around her as well. Priore prides herself on helping her teachers and brighting up their day.

“I do what is told or asked by the teachers, it makes their day better,” Priore said. “Especially turning in work early. But it also doesn’t hurt to ask how their day is going or if they need any help around the classroom.”

Giving to others has been prominent in Priore’s life and shaped her into the person she is today. 

“How I think helping others shape me as a person is it makes me feel happy knowing I made them smile,” Priore said. “I also meet new people and learn so much from them. Plus, once you help someone, that person passes it on.”

Photo by Carson Francis

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