For incoming PMA Valedictorian Cadet First Class Warren D. Leonor, there is no way but literally up.
Growing up at the Basilio Fernando Air Base in Lipa City, Batangas, the 22-year-old Leonor was so used at looking up at the sky for airplanes that even when he was small, he knew he was going to be a pilot.
His father Joel retired as a technical sergeant of the Philippine Air Force. He has ten relatives who are also PAF officers and personnel, he said.
“This has been my childhood dream,” Leonor said. “I always thought I’m going to be a pilot.”
His resoluteness in fulfilling his dream was so firm that immediately after finishing high school at the Lipa City National High School, he immediately took the PMA exam and entered the academy in 2020.
“My key to success is to study hard,” he said.
By his second year in PMA, he already was at the top and never relinquished the spot.
On May 21, he is set to receive the Presidential Saber for being the valedictorian of the Madasigon Class, short for MAndirigmang may DAngal SImbolo ng Galing at PagbangON. There will be 311 graduates, 72 of them are females.
He will be receiving the saber from President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr., who will be attending the ceremonies for the first time as president.
Leonor will also receive the Philippine Air Force saber for being the top air force recruit. Seventy-five others will join him in the Air Force. The Philippine Army will have 158 recruits while 77 will join the Navy.
He will also receive the Australian Defense Best Overall Plaque, General Antonio Luna Award, Spanish Armed Forces Award, Performance Award, Academic Group Award and the Joint U.S. Military Assistance Group (Jusmag) Saber.
Leonor will also graduate as a cum laude and will receive plaques for excellence in social sciences, Air Force professional courses, national security studies, and management.
Class Salutatorian is Cdt 1Cl Edmundo Logronio, 23, of Manito, Albay who will join the Army. He receives the Vice-Presidential Saber, Aguinaldo Saber and the Philippine Army Sabder. He will also receive the Australian Defense Overall Award and plaques for army professional courses and tactical courses.
Third is 22-year-old Cdt 1Cl Nicole B. Sarmiento of Butuan City. She is one of five females in the Top Ten.
Fourth is Cdt 1Cl Zhen Zhen Cayton of Dupax del Norte, Nueva Vizcaya who will also join the Air Force.
Fifth Cdt 1Cl Rez Mark Cantor of Bugallon, Pangasinan, the top Navy recruit.
Sixth is Cdt 1Cl Rojan Macario, a Tausog-Igorot from Talon-Talon, Zamboanga City.
Seventh is Cdt 1Cl Samuel S. Banac of Fairview, Quezon City who will also join the Air Force.
Eighth is Cdt 1Cl Kimberly Kate Lawingan of Sadanga, Mt. Province who will join the Navy.
Ninth is Cdt 1Cl Rico Jay B. Fernandez of Molave, Zamboanga Del Sur who will also receive the Association of General and Flag officers Award and a leadership plaque.
Tenth is Cdt 1 Cl Arla Krish Bahingawan of Kiangan, Ifugao who will also receive the Chief Justice Saber and a humanities plaque. – Frank Cimatu/Baguio Chronicle
Photos by Mau Victa/Baguio Chronicle.