Tuesday, May 22, 2012
The Ridgeland Junior ROTC has a room full of trophies — 109 to be exact, which literally fill the room
The school’s Air Force Junior ROTC broke the school record of 85 trophies with an unheard 24 wins this year.
“It’s a tradition here,” Lt. Col. Paul Simpson said. “A lot of kids see all the trophies we’ve won and want to be a part of JROTC.”
The JROTC prides itself on disciplined structure and steady guidance to bring positive highlights to the program.
“We teach teamwork,” Simpson said. “It’s not about winning every time, it’s about discipline and doing the best they can. This is probably a record we won’t be able to come close to in the future due to funding. Unfortunately, we won’t be able to travel like we did this year.”
Currently, the JROTC is funded through the United States Air Force, and Ridgeland High School’s JROTC also hosts drill meets to assist in funding for travel.
“We had three drill meets three weekends in a row. It’s very tough to win that many trophies,” Simpson said. “It’s really an accomplishment that we were consistent, especially when you have to substitute cadets.”
The group’s successes are proof that teamwork pays off. The nationally distinguished squad participates in many team building activities that teach members fundamental life skills in taking on tasks, Simpson said.
Two cadets, Chris Crawford and Ian Simpson, put these skills to the test by creating their winning Dual Exhibition Drill on the day of the meet.
“One of the dual members didn’t show up and we had to come up with another team on the spot,” said Crawford. “We created the routine in 10 minutes with only 20 minutes to practice to, then placed first place seven times in a row.”
Simpson said he has never seen a winning streak like that before in his 19 years.
“Whenever I see the case full of trophies I don’t think any school will ever come close to beating that,” Crawford said. “I’m really proud of the team this year and the responsibility displayed by each cadet.”