Lee Co. Trojan graduating from U.S. Naval Academy

Updated: May. 12, 2020 at 4:50 PM EDT
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Juwaun Stanley, US Naval Academy 2020
Juwaun Stanley, US Naval Academy 2020(Juwaun Stanley, US Naval Academy 2020)

ALBANY, Ga. (WALB) - The coronavirus is affecting graduates all over the world, including those in the military.

Commissioning Week will be a lot different for graduating seniors this year because all public events are canceled at the United States Naval Academy.

But despite the pandemic, Jawaun Stanley, a Lee County graduate, is about to open the next chapter in this life.

Stanley said nothing could get in his way.

“I set a goal for myself, figured out what I want. And then after I get it, then I just attack it,” he said.

Both of Stanley’s parents, Kevin and Candita, are Marines.

Back in 2017, when he was just a sophomore in the Naval Academy, Candita said she was beyond proud to have and raised a son who sees the value and honor of service as well.

“He’s amazing. He’s one of those kids that once he sets his mind to it, that’s it. There’s no turning back,” Candita said.

Juwaun said his journey in the Academy was not easy but after traveling with his father across the globe and seeing the leadership, he knew he wanted to join the United States Marine Corps.

“Watching him work with his Marines, and then again, that camaraderie side of it, how he took care of them and how they respected him, and how they looked up to him and I just want to be like that,” he said.

This week, he heads back to Annapolis for a small, closed, socially-distanced, swearing-in event.

“I’m still excited with getting my degrees and just being able to distinguish myself as one of the few that went to Naval Academy and graduated,” Stanley said.

The Class of 2020 will retain their midshipman rank until their official commissioning date of May 22.

He will then be a 2nd lieutenant in the Marine Corps and then go onto his next assignment orders within the military.

And although not having family and friends around can be upsetting, Juwaun knows he is not alone in this struggle.

“Keep your head in the game, whatever you want to do focus on it, and stay determined. Keep that in your sights. And then, don’t stop until you get and get out of life what you want out of it,” he said.

The virtual ceremony on May 22, beginning at 2:30 p.m., with a Class of 2020 tribute, and ceremony start time of 3 p.m.

It will include some video footage of the in-person events.

Full recordings of the five swearing-in events will be made available after the May 22 virtual graduation and commissioning ceremony.

To watch, click here.

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