SARASOTA - Sarasota Military Academy's highest ranked cadet was surprised with a prestigious award Thursday morning. Ranking 1st in her class, Cadet Juliana Rendle, a Senior at SMA applied for the Legion of Valor's Bronze Cross of Achievement award her junior year.

Out of more than 103,000 cadets in this region, Cadet Rendle competed against 60 other applicants. Thursday, after the school's morning formation, she learned she was one of 8 cadets to receive the award.

She said, "I couldn't have done it without the support from this school. They just push me to be better, they inspire me, they tell me I can do more and it's been such a blessing."

Cadet Rendle currently holds a 4.55 GPA and hopes to attend the United States Military Academy at West Point after graduation.