MORE than 360 students of St Thomas High School created history yesterday by being part of the school's first-ever cadet pass out parade.
Led by the school's head boy John Raoma, the students of Natabua in Lautoka displayed their military instilled skills to more than 300 parents and guests who witnessed the event.
The students also marked the day with the welcoming of Prime Minister Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama who was the chief guest at the event.
Commodore Bainimarama joined the well-wishers in thanking and congratulating St Thomas High School for achieving another historic feat.
"I congratulate the students and staff and of course the parents and guardians for the commitment and perseverance that made St Thomas' first annual cadet program a success," he said.
"The benefits of such a program are clear. To begin with the introduction of military drill in our schools encourages physical activity and promotes fitness in our students.
"This foundation will set you up for longer and healthier lives," he said.
Commodore Bainimarama said the cadet program was not just about physical drills.
"It teaches cadets important values such as honesty, discipline and sense of responsibility.
"The cadet program also helps instil a sense of patriotism in our students and schools.
"It is a key building block in the achievement of a common national identity in Fiji because it promotes unity and social cohesion in our communities."
Commodore Bainimarama also pledged the military's support in continuing the program at St Thomas High School.
"I am happy to say that the Republic of Fiji Military Forces will stand ready to assist St Thomas High School in mounting its cadet program from this year onwards," he said.
Those that were part of the parade at the school grounds went through rigorous and strict military training for six weeks.
Awards were also given to outstanding cadets of the school.