Young America at its best


Daniel Boone High ROTC hosts drill meet

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A David Crockett cadet. (Photo by Bart Nave)

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David Crockett Naval cadets compete. (Photo by Bart Nave)

If you believe kids today are slackers whose telephones that are smarter and more ambitious than the kids themselves, you might have had your faith in America’s youth restored a bit had you visited Daniel Boone High School last weekend. Buttons were polished. Shoes were shined. And patriotism, pride and a gung-ho attitude were the prevalent mindsets.

More than 600 cadets from 23 high schools in five states took part in the 18th Annual JROTC Drill Invitational. The meet, held the third Saturday in January each year, began with four local schools competing in 1997 and has grown to become the largest meet of its kind in the Southeast.

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A Science Hill High School Army cadet. (Photo by Bart Nave)

rotc2Cadets drilled in armed platoon and armed squad competition, as well as unarmed platoon and unarmed squad, color guard, individual and dual exhibition, armed individual, and first-year-cadet armed and unarmed squad during the all-day meet.

Science Hill High School’s Army cadets placed fourth overall behind Rutherfordton, N.C, Statesville, N.C. and Cocke County, Tenn. Science Hill also placed in the first-year-cadet armed and unarmed squad.

The Navy cadets of David Crockett High School finished seventh overall, also placing in armed squad drill.

As host school, Daniel Boone did not compete, though its 90+ Marine cadets ran the event. “The cadets run everything,” said Major Steve Sessis, senior Marine instructor at Daniel Boone. “They do everything but the judging and handling the money at the concession stand, and that’s just because there’s a school rule about concessions.”

Crockett cadets drill.

Crockett cadets drill. (Photo by Bart Nave)


Science Hill’s Army cadets.

A group of 19 active and reserve volunteer judges represents all services. “The judges come from as far away as Charlotte, N.C.,” said Sessis. “We also have judges from Asheville, Abingdon and the local Reserve Center here in Gray.”

Planning is already underway for next year’s event. On Tuesday, the first day back at school after the meet, a debriefing process began during which this year’s meet was analyzed to see what was done well and what can be improved for 2016. Please see additional pictures below.





Crockett cadets at attention. (Photo by Bart Nave)





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