(MONUMENT, Colo.) — As the ‘We Are Tri-Lakes’ campaign came to a close on Friday, March 24, FOX21 highlighted a Sophomore from Palmer Ridge High School, who was recently named Division 4 ‘Young Marine of the Year.’

16-year-old YM/SgtMaj Jackson Waters is from Monument and is a member of the Mountain View Young Marines, located in Centennial.

“Young Marines takes priority a lot in my life… I used to have a lot of self-doubt and confidence in my ability to speak to others and speak to especially larger groups, and I think that the Young Marines has really taught me that I can have confidence in my abilities,” stated Waters.

Waters will now compete with five other division winners for the title of ‘National Young Marine of the Year,’ the highest National honor bestowed by the Young Marines organization.

“A proven leader, Waters is an exemplary Young Marine,” said Col William P. Davis USMC (Ret), national executive director and CEO of the Young Marines. “His Young Marine accomplishments are outstanding. At the young age of 16, he has already received numerous accolades from his division…”

Young Marines is a national nonprofit youth education and service program and is divided into six divisions across the United States. Division 4 consists of Colorado, Wyoming, Nebraska, Kansas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas, Arkansas, and Louisiana.

“We do a lot of cool things in the program, especially helping our veterans and our communities as much as we can,” stated Waters.

Waters joined the Young Marines at age nine and for the past seven years, has worked his way up the ranks. “You go through a recruit training process, every unit is a little different and we just learn the fundamentals and basics of being a Young Marine,” said Waters.

After he graduates high school, Waters said he plans to go to college where he will pursue a Bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice, before ultimately training for a career in the Colorado State Patrol.