Se­nior JROTC cadets cel­e­brate at mil­i­tary ball

Maryland Independent - - Front Page -

More than 165 se­nior cadets in the school sys­tem’s Ju­nior Re­serve Of­fi­cers Train­ing Corp (JROTC) pro­gram met at North Point High School for a spe­cial cel­e­bra­tion last month. These stu­dents at­tended the 10th an­nual Col. Donald M. Wade Joint Ser­vices Mil­i­tary Ball, a Charles County Pub­lic Schools (CCPS) tra­di­tion held to honor cadets for par­tic­i­pat­ing in the JROTC pro­gram and to cel­e­brate their fu­ture en­deav­ors, ac­cord­ing to a re­lease.

This year’s ball fea­tured a va­ri­ety of cer­e­mo­nial mil­i­tar y tra­di­tions in­clud­ing the Pre­sen­ta­tion of Col­ors by the Joint JROTC Color Guard, toasts to honor mil­i­tary per­son­nel, lead­ers and ball guests, and the se­lec­tion of a mil­i­tary court, the re­lease states. Se­nior cadets are also pre­sented with cer­tifi­cates of par­tic­i­pa­tion and rec­og­nized by their in­struc­tors for their com­mit­ment to the JROTC pro­gram.

The JROTC pro­gram pro­vides stu­dent cadets with learn­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties deeply rooted in mil­i­tar y tra­di­tions, from par­tic­i­pat­ing in the Color Guard and drill meets, to serv­ing as lead­ers at their schools and in the com­mu­nity. La Plata High School se­nior cadet Mikayla Cox was this year’s mis­tress of cer­e­monies and was as­sisted in lead­ing the pro­gram by North Point se­nior cadet Har­ri­son O’Con­nell, who served as the mas­ter of cer­e­monies.

Board of Ed­u­ca­tion Chair­man Vir­ginia McGraw wel­comed guests and Su­per­in­ten­dent of Schools Kim­berly Hill ap­plauded the cadets for their com­mit­ment to ser ving oth­ers.

“It is an honor to be among peo­ple who are ded­i­cated to tra­di­tions of honor, courage, pa­tri­o­tism and cit­i­zen­ship. This event is named in honor of the late Col. Donald M. Wade, a 30-year vet­eran of the U.S. Air Force and mem­ber of the Board of Ed­u­ca­tion. He helped bring the JROTC pro­gram to Charles County Pub­lic Schools,” Hill said in the re­lease.

Toasts were held to honor the U.S. Air Force, U.S. Army, U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Marine Corps, U.S. Navy, JROTC in­struc­tors, cadets in at­ten­dance and the Pres­i­dent of the United States. A toast was also held to honor those who are miss­ing in ac­tion or pris­on­ers of war. A spe­cial recog­ni­tion for mil­i­tar y mem­bers who lost their lives while ser ving or are miss­ing in ac­tion was in­cluded in the event cel­e­bra­tions. Stu­dent cadets placed items of re­mem­brance on a ta­ble, such as an empty plate to rep­re­sent a meal not able to be eaten and a pic­ture frame to rep­re­sent the memor y of a lost loved one, as well as a lit can­dle to honor those who served.

Also hon­ored dur­ing the ball was Col. Charles Gil­bert, a former JROTC in­struc­tor who helped to launch the pro­gram at Henr y E. Lackey High School. Hill pre­sented Gil­bert with a recog­ni­tion plaque to honor his 22-year ca­reer with the school sys­tem. Dur­ing his time at Lackey, Gil­bert helped the drill team earn na­tional awards at the Air Force Na­tional Drill Cham­pi­onship in 2001 and 2010. Un­der his lead­er­ship, the drill team earned first place in 57 com­pe­ti­tions. He re­tired from CCPS in 2013.

Fol­low­ing the cer­tifi­cate pre­sen­ta­tion by in­struc­tors to their se­nior cadets, two other cer­e­mo­nial tra­di­tions were high­lighted: a cake cut­ting and pre­sen­ta­tion of a mil­i­tary court. The mil­i­tary court in­cludes a king and queen who are ran­domly cho­sen by a ball guest and par­tic­i­pated in a JROTC pro­gram all four years of high school. Board of Ed­u­ca­tion Vice Chair­man Michael Lukas ran­domly se­lected the names and chose Thomas Stone High School se­nior Dou­glas Good­ell as king and North Point se­nior Tay­lor Dobbs as queen.

The JROTC pro­gram is avail­able at all seven county high schools and teaches stu­dents lead­er­ship skills, val­ues and good cit­i­zen­ship. Par­tic­i­pa­tion in JROTC also pro­vides ad­vanced rank op­por­tu­ni­ties for stu­dents who plan to en­ter the mil­i­tary af­ter high school. JROTC pro­grams were first in­tro­duced in Charles County Pub­lic Schools in 1998 at Lackey. Col. Donald M. Wade was in­stru­men­tal in launch­ing the pro­gram for Charles County stu­dents. The ball is named in Wade’s honor to rec­og­nize his ef­forts in ad­vo­cat­ing for the JROTC pro­gram for stu­dents. He passed away in 2013.

The pro­grams at Lackey and North Point high schools rep­re­sent the Air Force; the pro­grams at Stone and Mau­rice J. McDonough high schools rep­re­sent the Army; La Plata, as well as West­lake High School, fea­tures a JROTC pro­gram that rep­re­sents the Navy; and the pro­gram at St. Charles High School rep­re­sents the Marine Corps. A to­tal of 940 stu­dents are en­rolled in JROTC pro­grams this school year. These stu­dents also par­tic­i­pate in an an­nual county drill meet and co-cur­ric­u­lar ac­tiv­i­ties such as color guards, armed and un­armed drill teams, armed and un­armed ex­hi­bi­tion drill teams, aca­demic and field com­pe­ti­tions.

SUB­MIT­TED PHOTOS

Charles County Pub­lic Schools hosted the 10th an­nual Col. Donald M. Wade Joint Ser­vices Mil­i­tary Ball on Fri­day, Dec. 9 at North Point High School. The event is held to honor se­nior cadets en­rolled in the school sys­tem’s JROTC pro­grams and fea­tures sev­eral mil­i­tary tra­di­tions, such as a cake cut­ting. Cadet Ana Chavez, left, of Mau­rice J. McDonough High School was cho­sen to cut the cake and was joined by La Plata High School’s Ken­neth Dut­ton.

Thomas Stone High School se­nior Dou­glas Good­ell, left, was crowned as king at the 10th an­nual Col. Donald M. Wade Joint Ser­vices Mil­i­tary Ball held Fri­day, Dec. 9. The event hon­ors se­nior cadets en­rolled in Charles County Pub­lic Schools JROTC pro­grams. North Point High School se­nior Tay­lor Dobbs, right, was crowned as queen.

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