ROTC wins big at drill competition

Derrick Gonzalez

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On, what seemed like a lifetime ago, twenty-seven cadets from our NJROTC team attended the Passaic High School drill meet in New Jersey.  This year the Curtis Warriors  NJROTC team competed against seven high schools, in three separate categories: unarmed inspector, armed academics, and color guard academics.

Going in, the cadets all had varying degrees of confidence as to whether or not they were going to perform well.  A cadet, Kayla Jackson, stated that she did not think they would come home champions.  According to Jackson, this was because it was their first time participating in such an event.  Jackson considered the event a struggle for them because they had placed second, which to her, is merely a one-point difference from first.

Despite this, Jackson credited their place in the competition to practice.  Before class would commence, the NJROTC team would practice for an hour and a half, and on Wednesdays, the cadets would begin at seven in the morning.  

Jackson had only one thing to say to her peers in reference to the five-day long National competition that is coming up in Florida, “Don’t slack off.”

William Cookstood out among the others in both practice and the competition.  This was because, without him, the other cadets wouldn’t know what to do.

Another individual, Joanna Zepeda, the unarmed commander in the event, said that she did not even feel unnerved and reassured herself that they would perform well, but didn’t have a reason as to why she felt that way.  Ms. Zepeda attributed their “clear win” in the competition to hard work.   “I got up every morning at six thirty to practice,”   said Zepeda. She regarded their placing in the competition as a visible win because to her, some other schools did not try hard enough.

Bruce Smith, the armed exhibitioner, felt the same as Ms.Zepeda.  Mr. Smith considered the competition to have been easy, although he did admit that he was unsure where they would rank among the other schools.  Mr. Smith was in charge of showing the cadets moves and how to execute them during drill practice.  He had decided to show them how to properly do advanced moves, hence his confidence.  To him the cadets that stood out the most were: Billy Cook, Shawn Lee, and Marvin Torrez.  These cadets had picked up the moves quicker than their peers, and were therefore able to demonstrate.  Mr. Smith had a few inspiring words to say for his fellow cadets “If you keep practicing”, “We could actually win Nationals.”  From an adult perspective, Master Sergeant Wiggins had a lot to say about the event.  He stated that with consistency and practice, one can only get better.  This reflects well on the NJROTC unofficial motto, “If you don’t work, you don’t eat.”  Master Sergeant Wiggins frequently recites this quote to his pupils.  His plan is to win the Florida Nationals and expand the NJROTC work ethic at Curtis.

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