Two rowers shared the 1st Lt. Andrew K. Stern Scholarship and Rowing Award. Culver Girls Academy senior Sydney Herczeg (South Bend, Indiana) and Culver Military Academy first classman Phearon “Rome” Duong (Siem Reap, Cambodia) were presented the award during a special early morning ceremony Sunday, Sept. 16, at the White-DeVries Rowing Center.
The scholarship is given annually to seniors on the rowing team who best exemplify the traits that Stern exhibited: “Dedication, Honesty, Joyfulness, Respect, and Integrity,” according to the criteria. Herczeg and Duong are both three-year members of the rowing team.
This year, the ceremony was conducted in “the quiet, reflective moments that follow dawn,” coach Nathan Walker said. After the ceremony at White-DeVries, the varsity teams rowed across Aubeenaubee Bay to the Legion Memorial Building. The CGA varsity 8 used the crew shell named after Stern. The rest of the team and others in attendance followed the Color Guard along the Lake Maxinkuckee shore to the Gold Stars on the lakeside of the Legion Memorial Building, where “Taps” was played.
Stern, a Marine, died while serving in Fallujah, Iraq, on Sept. 16, 2004. The rowing award to honor his memory was initiated in the fall of 2006. A 1998 graduate, he was a four-year cadet in Battery C, and rowed during all four years. He was a tri-captain on the rowing team and the Artillery Battalion commander during his senior year.
He continued to row at the University of Tennessee, where he was captain of the rowing team, an officer of the Inter-Fraternity Council, and a member of Beta Theta Pi fraternity. By his second year, he was coaching novice teams at the university.
With most of the talk detailing his rowing career and military service, Walker said everyone should also remember that Stern was also making plans to ride a Harley-Davidson across the country and visit friends. “He had dreams like you have dreams. He was a real person. A real cadet.”
Stern was serving as the platoon commander of the Third Platoon, Company B, 1st Tank Battalion. To date, he is the only Culver alumnus to lose his life in the Global War on Terror. He was 24. He is also remembered with a Gold Star Flag.