Bill Yucuis, Mike Lezaun, and Emily Farkas recently met with Lt. Gen. Guilott, CENTCOM Deputy
Commander, Col. Szczepanik, 6 ARW Deputy Commander, and CMSgt Franklin, CENTCOM
Superintendent C4 to discuss ways to better support MacDill AFB personnel and families. The AFA
Program Overview for MacDill AFB attachment provides an overview of what our Chapter’s briefed.
We expect to increase the AFA presence and activity on base in the future. In addition, Bill Yucuis
met with 6 ARW Education Office to talk about AFA Education opportunities and the CENTCOM
Family Readiness Center about how to support spouses and families stationed at MacDill AFB (see
two other attachments).
At the monthly First Term Airman Course (FTAC), a Chapter member presents a Professional Airman
Award. The awardee receives Certificate, a pen set, and a free 1-year AFA eMembership.
If anyone is interested in helping with these activities, please contact Bill Yucuis at
The University of South Florida (USF) is the location for Detachment 159 of the Air Force ROTC unit. Within the ROTC unit are cadets who elected to join the Arnold Air Society (AAS), which is a professional, honorary, service organization for Air Force ROTC and Air Force Academy Cadets. As part of joining AAS, these cadets becoming members of the Air and Space Forces Association (AFA) and thereby members of the Waterman-Twining AFA Chapter. The Chapter has supported Detachment 159 for many years and works closely with the AAS cadets.
AFJROTC and CAP
Air Force Junior Reserved Officers Corps (AFJROTC) Mission: “Develop citizens of character dedicated to serving their nation and community.” Purpose: Instill in students the value of citizenship, service to the United States, personal responsibility, character, and a sense of accomplishment. To make the greatest positive impact in the lives of our cadets as possible. This is perfectly encapsulated in our motto: “Building Better Citizens for America.” Vision Statement: Air Force Junior ROTC (AFJROTC) will provide a quality citizenship, character, and leadership development program, while fostering enduring partnerships and relationships with high schools, educational institutions, and communities that help meet our citizen development mission. Air Force Mission: The mission of the United States Air Force is to fly, fight and win… airpower anytime, anywhere. Air Force Core Values: Integrity first, Service before self, and Excellence in all we do.
The Waterman- Twining Chapter has ten high school AFJROTC units within our Chapter area: Durant, Bloomingdale, Middleton, Blake, H.B. Plant, Jefferson, Sickles, River Ridge, Springstead, Hernando. Our goal is to support the efforts of AFJROTC units to produce citizens of character. As a minimum, we try to have a Chapter members at each AFJROTC unit’s Awards Ceremony and present the AFA AFJROTC Cadet of the Year Award.
Stewart Middle School
Stewart Middle Magnet, near Downtown Tampa’s Riverwalk, is a nationally recognized NASA Explorer School with a focus on Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM). Through the Project Lead the Way (PLTW) curriculum, students choose from unique Electives like Aerospace and Engineering. Scholar Quest options lead to high school credit in Gaming, Robotics and other subjects.
The Waterman-Twining Chapter has supported Stewart for many years. Stewart Middle School has the John Glenn Top Gun Academy, an Honor Society for students with an interest in Aerospace and Aeronautics. To become a member, students must submit an application and be interviewed. Chapter members have volunteered each year to assist in the interview process. Our Chapter also provides financial support which allows students to take an overnight visit to Kennedy Space Center each year.
Chapter members have also volunteered to participate in Teach-In Day, where local professionals talk to students about their experiences.
This past year, Stewart Middle School was the only Middle School in the country to receive a $52,000 grant from the Center for the Advancement of Science and Space. It’s just another example of the excellence at Stewart Middle School.
If you are interested in participating in any of these activities, contact Bill Yucuis at email@example.com
StellarXplorers and CyberPatriot
AFA has two national STEM programs, StellarXplorers and CyberPatriot. The Waterman-Twining Chapter supports both programs and encourages local education organizations to participate.
The StellarXplorers Space STEM Program, created by the Air & Space Forces Association (AFA), inspires K-12 students toward careers in aerospace, aviation, and other science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) disciplines critical to our nation’s future.
The StellarXplorers National Space Design Competition provides specific training in the use of system simulation software, Systems Tool Kit (STK). The actual competition is accomplished from the team’s home location. Teams are given a scenario describing the system’s mission and constraints and they provide a solution to a typical space design problem, such as orbit determination, satellite component selection, and launch vehicle planning. Practice Rounds begin in October, and Qualification Rounds begin in November. Performances of teams during the Qualifying Rounds determine which teams advance to the Semi-Finals in February. The top 10 teams from the Semi-Finals receive an all-expense-paid trip to the National Finals. StellarCamp is a fun space system design camp for 6th through 12th graders. Participants get to learn about aspects of space system design with no prior experience required.
You can find more information about StellarXplorers at https://stellarxplorers.org/
CyberPatriot is the National Youth Cyber Education Program created by the Air Force Association to inspire K-12 students toward careers in cybersecurity or other science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) disciplines critical to our nation’s future. At the core of the program is the National Youth Cyber Defense Competition, the nation’s largest cyber defense competition that puts high school and middle school students in charge of securing virtual networks. Other programs include AFA CyberCamps, an elementary school cyber education initiative, a children’s literature series, CyberGenerations –a senior citizen cyber safety initiative, and a Tech Caregivers program designed to encourage cyber-savvy volunteers to give back to their communities.
You can find more information about CyberPatriot at https://www.uscyberpatriot.org/
Teacher of the Year
STEM teachers shape the future of our nation – introducing students to exciting new concepts and offering a glimpse into what’s possible. The very best educators transform learning into a boundless adventure and prepare their classes to explore new frontiers of technology for the good of us all. Along with grants and scholarships, the Air & Space Forces Association believes that recognizing those who educate America’s youth is an important aspect of what AFA is all about. Every year, AFA’s Teacher of the Year program sponsored by Rolls-Royce proudly honors the commitment and achievements of these extraordinary teachers. Rolls-Royce sponsors the AFA Teacher of the Year program at the Chapter, State and National levels.
The Waterman-Twining Chapter annually awards a Chapter Teacher of the Year Award. Teachers can find more information and application forms at https://www.afa.org/TOY
- 2020 Waterman Chapter TOY – Brainard Harris
- 2021 Waterman Chapter TOY Narrative- Dr. Darcy Favata
- 2021 Waterman Chapter TOY Presentation – Dr. Darcy Favata
- 2022 Waterman Chapter TOY Presentation – Julian Rivera
- 2023 Waterman Chapter TOY Narrative – Natalie Fisher
- 2023 Waterman Chapter TOY Presentation – Natalie Fisher