Elkin High School’s JROTC program competed Saturday in a regional Fourth Brigade JROTC drill meet.
Four teams drove to Elkin High School to compete - East Forsyth, North Iredell, Ashe County, and East Surry. Teams met for drills in the student parking lot below the middle school with the lot taped off for safety.
East Forsyth came in first place overall with Ashe County as the runner-up. East Forsyth also won the LET 1.
In order to allow first semester freshmen to compete without being easily beaten by upperclassmen, a separate distinction is called LET 1, or Leadership Education Training First Semester. This gives new students a chance to participate based solely on skill rather than years of experience.
“We did pretty good,” said Battalion Commander Cadet Chance Hogan on Elkin’s performance. “We had a LET 1, which is a first year cadet, and he was pretty good for his first year.”
“We do that here because at this part of the state the schools that come to compete here like the ability to let their LET 1’s have that opportunity to get over, to some extent, the fear of competing, the nervousness, and so on,” said Lt. Col. Kenneth Abrams.
In addition, cadets from all grade levels in high school can compete in Regulation, the standard level of competition.
The competition was divided into five categories: color guard, individual, duet, squad (with and without arms), and platoon (with and without arms). Elkin’s JROTC competed in the duet and individual areas.
The morning started at 8:30 a.m. with Officer’s Call, with each school arriving and determining the sequence of events for the day.
“Officer’s Call is when they have the opportunity to sit down and talk through the sequence of events base upon the teams they brought with them,” said Abrams. “They will have pre-registered, but sometimes they will arrive and decide they are not going to compete in one of the sections.”
Following the arranging of the schedule, teams move out onto various areas of the parking lot and compete by school.
Abrams said the Elkin members had competed in only two categories because of the difficulties of hosting such a large event.
“The problem is that, to run a drill meet … takes an awful lot of cadets doing all this kind of stuff. It is very difficult to do all of that and compete,” he said. “We usually try to let some of the kids do a little competing, but the vast majority of our competition comes when we get on a bus at some ungodly hour of the morning and go somewhere else to do it.”
Sgt. 1st Class Jacob Key, recruiter for the Army National Guard out of Elkin’s National Guard Armory, was the senior judge in charge for the day. He and other National Guardsmen from around the region judged each school’s performance to insure impartiality.
Two graders were attached to each venue to guarantee eyes are on every cadet and nothing is missed. No graders were from Elkin JROTC, further preventing any form of cheating or improper conduct.
As grades were totaled they pass through Sgt. Keys and on to students inside a middle school classroom to be calculated. As the teams finished their scores were tallied and the winners announced.
Trophies were given for first overall and first LET 1. Students also received individual medals, and trophies were awarded for the individual categories.
The drill meet is part of the cadets’ yearly activities, in addition to academic achievement, community and school service, and rifle marksmanship. They are awarded points for each activity to earn a gold star medal, identifying them as a member of an Army unit with distinction.
“The whole idea is they are supposed to learn how to be leaders, and, theoretically, they are the leaders of your community,” said Abrams.
To contact Taylor Pardue call 336-835-1513 ext. 15, or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.