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Crook County to host ROTC competition this Saturday - Central Oregonian
December 13, 2013Crook County High School
After dominating the competition for years, the Crook County High School NJROTC stopped competing last year after just one performance.
“Competing in sports is a reason to come to school,” said Master Chief Donny Jackson. “It’s exciting, but you have got to somehow throw the academics in there as the most important reason to come to school.”
Last fall, several members of the NJROTC drill team had less than satisfactory grades so Jackson and Russ Robinson made the difficult decision to pull the plug on competition for the year.
“They got that figured out real well,” Jackson said. “It was difficult, but they understand that academics come first. The other things are the motivators to let you come to school and take care of business. The world is changing — technology is changing and you need a good education.”
Crook County had won 19 Dual State ROTC championships prior to deciding to drop out of the competition. However, there are absolutely no regrets about the decision. The NJROTC program now has 119 students involved in the program including, the largest freshman class in program history.
The team returned to competition this year, and did well at the opening competition, which was held Nov. 16, in Redmond.
Crook County took first place in the unarmed drill team competition. Drill team commander Shaylee Clair was awarded
first place out of 15 commanders at the event. In addition, Jonah Shadle won first place in the armed individual exhibition event, while Chad Lawrence was third. Christian Griffin was first out of 37 cadets in the individual armed drill down and the No. 2 color guard finished in fifth place.
“I’m proud of the kids,” Robison said. “I’m proud of them for stopping last year for academics and for everybody coming back this year. The kids got it and I couldn’t be prouder of how they did.”
“I was totally ecstatic,” Jackson added. “Taking first place in the unarmed drill — I wasn’t expecting that. We only had three people on our team that have ever competed before, so we are as young as you are ever going to get.”
The NJROTC is back in action this Saturday when they host 13 other schools in the Crook County High School Drill Meet.
Competition begins at 8 a.m., with performances continuing throughout the day and awards given at 5:30 p.m.
Jackson said that the public is welcome to come and watch the competition.
Crook County’s unarmed drill team is set to compete shortly after noon, while the armed drill team will compete at approximately 3:40 p.m.
Altogether, nearly 500 competitors from Oregon and Washington will be at the event competing in events including physical fitness, air rifle competition drill teams, color guard, and individual exhibitions.
Competition will be held in the high school auditorium, both gymnasiums, the school commons, the weight room, and at the high school track.
“I think the biggest thing is watching these young students in the precision of the routines that they are doing,” Jackson said. “A lot of people think that the ROTC is about recruiting for the military and it is not. The program is a way to go to college. It’s discipline — we’re going to hold you accountable and it’s an asset to the parents. We hope that people choose to come out and support the program.”