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Putnam Graduate Graces Cover of Time Magazine

Putnam Graduate Graces Cover of Time Magazine
Posted on 10/24/2019

As a pioneering cadet for Putnam’s Marine JROTC in 2017, Ashley Luna earned the coveted spot as a member of the Color Guard.  This year, as a recruit in the US Marine Corp training camp in Parris Island, she earned the position of Squad Leader. This week, the Putnam Academy graduate earned an even rarer distinction - the cover of Time magazine.

“How many Marines can say they made the cover of Time magazine? Not many,” said Sgt. Major Matthew Fortune, part of the duo leadership team that inaugurated the Putnam Marine JROTC three years ago. “But I can tell you that nobody deserves it more than Ashley. She was a phenomenal cadet and she continues to excel. We’re all so proud of her.”

Splashed across the cover of Time magazine, just below the image of a serious-faced Luna, is the special report headline: “Ashley Luna Gorbea, 17, is one of thousands training for a war that started before she was born. America’s Forever War.”

Lt. Colonel David Johnson, the other half of the leadership duo, said young Marines like Luna bridge an important gap. “The burden of war is shared inter-generationally and there’s an elite few who can help tell that story. I’m glad Time chose Ashley as a representative of that.”

A graduate of the Class of 2019, Luna garnered a reputation as a leader with high standards in the classroom, in her vocation of carpentry and on the JROTC during her years at Putnam. Carpentry teacher David Stevens said Luna had a rare ability to bring energy, clarity and a sense of community to every project she and her peers took on.

“It seemed to come naturally to her,” Stevens said. “We saw it in her and now it’s being recognized on a national level. It’s great for her and it brings a sense of pride for all of us.”

As a student, Luna immersed herself in community service opportunities, helping to build a house for Habitat for Humanity, placing flags inside veterans’ cemeteries, marching in Veterans' Day parades, volunteering with the Massachusetts State Police barracks, and more.  Her devotion to community was the reason Fortune was not all surprised to see her back at Putnam last week for a visit and a workout with current JROTC cadets. She had graduated Boot Camp just one week prior.

“The transformation that Boot Camp brought about for her was evident physically and mentally and it was great to have her back as a role model for the others,” he said, adding that during her visit, Luna never mentioned the Time magazine cover, which carries an Oct. 21 – 28 publication date.

“We never knew it was coming but when we saw the cover, word spread around school very fast.”

 

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