Fort Hunter Liggett
Fort Hunter Liggett military children, (from left) salutatorians Zeke Brown and Logan Butler, valedictorian Hailey Adair and salutatorian Taylor Engel, recently graduated from eighth grade at San Antonio Elementary School in Lockwood. (Eric Butler/FHL)

LOCKWOOD — As the school year draws to a close, San Antonio Elementary School is abuzz with the excitement of graduation ceremonies.

This year, the eighth-grade class stands out for a remarkable achievement: the valedictorian and salutatorians are all children from Fort Hunter Liggett (FHL).

The valedictorian, Hailey Adair, is a military contractor’s child. The salutatorians, Logan Butler, Zeke Brown and Taylor Engel, are all children of career soldiers. These students epitomize the Army moto — “Be All You Can Be!”

“Being salutatorian means that I am appreciated for my hard work; that I am supported and respected by my peers,” Engel said. “I feel immense pride in myself for what I have done, and it has helped me feel prepared for whatever is thrown my way.”

“The Fort Hunter Liggett community takes great pride in these graduates,” said FHL Commander Col. Stephen Trotter. “Their achievements are a testament to the strength and support of the military community, which provides a stable foundation even in the most transient of lifestyles.”

These young scholars exemplify the resilience and adaptability that are the hallmarks of military children.

Their journey through elementary school was marked by the unique challenges and opportunities that come with being part of a military family. They have navigated frequent relocations, adapted to new schools and built new friendships, all while maintaining academic excellence.

“Being a salutatorian is a testament to Taylor’s commitment to learning, her ability to excel and her resilience in the face of challenges,” said Engel’s parents. “We couldn’t be prouder of her accomplishments, and we see this honor as a reflection of her character and determination.” 

“I am extremely proud of Logan’s hard work and perseverance,” said Butler’s mother. “He is a very well-rounded young man, who is already working toward a bright future.”

As military children, these students have developed a unique set of skills. They are quick to adjust to ever-changing environments, they show empathy toward others, and they possess a global awareness that enriches their perspectives. These traits have not only propelled them to academic success, but have also prepared them for the challenges of high school and beyond.

“It’s evident these students’ accomplishments exude the Army values of loyalty, duty, respect, selfless service honor, integrity and personal courage,” said Michelle McLaughlin, FHL deputy to the garrison commander. “In addition, they should take pride in their military connection as a military BRAT, which stands for Bravery, Resilience, Adaptability and Toughness.”

The close-knit FHL community has played a pivotal role in nurturing these young minds, instilling in them the values of hard work, integrity and service. FHL has many programs to support military children, such as summer jobs and a Teen Center that provides a safe environment with many activities to keep them engaged.

As FHL celebrates the accomplishments of these remarkable eighth graders, it is reminded of the potential within each child to overcome obstacles and thrive. The valedictorian and salutatorians from FHL are not just graduates; they are beacons of hope, symbolizing the bright future that lies ahead for all children who face life’s challenges with resilience and adaptability.

Previous articleFunny Papers Again Column | Phase One: KC to OKC (An American Travelogue Submission)
Next articleCommunity celebrates new mission-themed mural in King City
Fort Hunter Liggett


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here