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Accomplishments in the classroom, awards from the United States Army Cadets, and engagement with his community have pushed Cole Parker to succeed far beyond his imagination. Cole is the first student at Arkansas Virtual Academy (ARVA) to also participate in the Junior ROTC program at his local brick-and-mortar school. Thanks to the online classroom, Cole can succeed in his education and prepare for a future military career.

Coming from a long family history of military careers, Cole understands the expectations that come with it. He also understands the sacrifice men and women make to keep the country safe.

“All my loved ones have accomplished so much by being in the military I wanted to learn what it was all about, and what it stood for,” Cole said as the reason for why he joined.

The opportunity to join JROTC would not be possible without the support of his teachers and the ability to be in control of his schedule. Cole can do his school work around JROTC responsibilities and if there is ever a scheduling conflict, he can work with his teachers to make up assignments or meet at an alternate time.

Now, Cole is understanding what his family has accomplished and how they have done it. Being in JROTC makes him appreciate more in life and teaches him valuable life skills. “I am learning to have integrity, great leadership skills, to never give up on anything, and becoming a better citizen overall,” he said.

Cole also enjoys giving back to his community. In the past year, he has received multiple awards for his efforts. He was honored by the United States Army Cadet Command 5th Apache Brigade for his Hurricane Harvey service where he raised money and collected basic living necessities and food for the hurricane victims. He also received the Douglas MacArthur Award from the Central Arkansas West Point Society for his outstanding performance in academics and leadership.

Cole’s mom, Alexandrina, hopes that Cole becomes a great example to others through his work in online school and JROTC. “I hope his experience provides him with great leadership skills, to always stay humble, and shape him into a great young man,” she said.

After graduating from ARVA and Junior ROTC, Cole hopes to attend West Point or MIT for Science Technology and Engineering. He then hopes to follow in his family’s footsteps and join the United States Army.

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