Tol­man JROTC to serve as color guard for BrownURI foot­ball game

Pawtucket Times - - FRONT PAGE - By BREN­DAN McGAIR bm­c­gair@paw­tuck­et­times.com

PAW­TUCKET – How the Tol­man High School Ju­nior ROTC was cho­sen to serve as the color guard for Satur­day night’s col­lege foot­ball game be­tween URI and host Brown dates back to last year and a con­ver­sa­tion that Sergeant Ma­jor Scott Smith had with Brown Univer­sity ath­letic di­rec­tor Jack Hayes.

Af­ter ap­pear­ing on the Phil Estes Coaches Show to talk about Team RWB – short for Red, White, and Blue and pur­posely de­signed to help service mem­bers read­just to civil­ian life af­ter get­ting dis­charged – Sgt. Smith sug­gested that if Brown foot­ball wished to have a color guard as part of the pregame pageantry, his Tol­man cadets would jump at the chance to rep­re­sent their school.

Thanks to stay­ing in con­tact with the Brown ath­letic depart­ment through­out the spring and sum­mer, Sgt. Smith was the ben­e­fi­ciary of proud news that was de­liv­ered when school started up against at Tol­man in Au­gust. At ap­prox­i­mately 6:50 at Brown Sta­dium on Satur­day night, four Ju­nior ROTC cadets will stand at mid­field and post the colors for the na­tional an­them.

The Ju­nior ROTC pro­gram at Tol­man High is now in its fourth year and fea­tures 85 stu­dents. Their pa­tri­otic as­so­ci­a­tion with the an­nual Gover­nor’s Cup clash be­tween the Bears and Rams rep­re­sents the big­gest stage the pro­gram has stepped on to date.

“Su­per proud mo­ment,” said Sgt. Smith, who as the Ma­rine in­struc­tor for the Tol­man Ju­nior ROTC unit shares the re­spon­si­bil­i­ties and du­ties with Colonel Jeff Richard­son, the Se­nior Ma­rine in­struc­tor.

Rep­re­sent­ing the Ju­nior ROTC pro­gram at Brown Sta­dium will be Tol­man se­niors Marie Paquin, Ni­cola Ric­cio, and Zuli­mar Ber­rios along with sopho­more Ma­son Di­neen. As the color guard com­man­der, Paquin will carry the na­tional colors while Ric­cio car­ries the Ma­rine Corps colors. Car­ry­ing one of the rif­fles and stand­ing to the right will be Di­neen while stand­ing with a rif­fle to the left of the colors will be Ber­rios.

They’ll be a backup mem­ber from the Tol­man ROTC pro­gram on hand at Brown, sopho­more Aylia Thomas.

“It’s an op­por­tu­nity for the kids to dis­play what they’ve learned,” said Sgt. Smith. “One of our ex­tracur­ric­u­lar ac­tiv­i­ties is color guard where the colors will be pre­sented at a Tol­man foot­ball or bas­ket­ball game. We’ve also done soc­cer matches, the Vet­eran’s Day cer­e­mony in Paw­tucket, and the Bobby Doyle Road Race down in Nar­ra­gansett.

“We start out with five or six cadets who ex­press in­ter­est in do­ing this and have the abil­ity to march,” Sgt. Smith added. “The idea is that once this gets go­ing, the ju­niors and the se­niors pick it up.”

Col. Richard­son and Sgt. Smith will still su­per­vise and make sure that ev­ery­thing is done cor­rectly, yet the onus falls on the se­nior cadets to set the tone.

“It’s the up­per­class­men who are teach­ing the younger kids how to carry the flag and the weapons and do the move­ments,” Sgt. Smith said. “It ba­si­cally mir­rors what you would see at a col­lege-level ROTC pro­gram. You have the unit set up in a lead­er­ship po­si­tion where the ju­niors and se­niors are kind of run­ning the show. It gives them a chance to flex their lead­er­ship mus­cles and learn how to teach.”

A dry run for the Tol­man Ju­nior ROTC pro­gram was staged prior to the Tol­man-St. Raphael foot­ball game on Sept. 8. On Satur­day night, they’ll be per­form­ing for a much larger au­di­ence that’s ex­pected to in­clude Gover­nor Gina Rai­mondo.

“I told them there’s go­ing to be thou­sands of peo­ple star­ring at you, watch­ing your every move,” Sgt. Smith said. “I ex­pect them to do fine.”

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