It was a crisp morning that welcomed the sunshine by Saturday afternoon when East Surry JROTC took more awards than any other school as Elkin High School hosted a Drill competition.
Eight schools representing Davidson, Forsyth, Rowan, Surry, Wilkes and Yadkin counties gathered at the Elkin Middle School parking lot where members of Elkin High School JROTC were busy doing double duty, competing as well as attending the details of the event that kept it running.
“We’ve had as many as 12 schools before,” claimed one of the Elkin JROTC instructors Sgt. 1st Class Kenneth “Sarge” Abrams (Retired), who appeared satisfied with a few less schools due to basic logistics such as parking. “They are doing a fantastic job,” bragged Abrams of his cadets.
Parents of Cadet 1st Lt. Kyley Cook, who already is working on her senior project of women in the military, also were pleased with the Elk Battalion. “This is a good event,” declared James Cook. “It teaches them responsibility and discipline. They have dedicated themselves [to the ideals of JROTC].”
Those ideals are outlined in the JROTC Cadet Creed: I am an Army Junior ROTC Cadet. I will always conduct myself to bring credit my family, school and corps of cadets. I am loyal and patriotic. I am the future of the United States of America. I do not lie, cheat, or steal and will always be accountable for my actions and deeds. I will always practice good citizenship and patriotism. I will work hard to improve my mind and strengthen my body. I will seek the mantle of leadership and stand prepared to uphold the Constitution and the American way of life. May God grant me the strength to always live by this creed.
“We’re lucky to have a JROTC program,” agreed Kyley’s mother Marty.
Dana Sloan, mother of Forbush junior Cameron who was the leader for his school’s Freshman Color Guard, also was excited about the program and drills. “I’m very proud of what he’s accomplished and learned,” stated Dana. “His group has done very well.”
Sister Laura agreed, “I’m proud of him, too.” That pride was obvious as Laura acknowledged her favorite part of the drill meet was the color guard because her brother was the leader.
Although the day went smoothly for most cadets, some were personally disappointed. Capt. Andrea Payne of Elkin was unhappy with her own color guard performance. “I like color guard, but I’d like to be more prepared,” Payne maintained.
The lessons of JROTC were obvious as Payne took personal responsibility for her mistakes during the competition while making plans to improve for the next time. “I like JROTC. [We learn] leadership skills, more discipline and being respectful to others, especially people you don’t know.”
Beanie Taylor can be reached at 336-258-4058 or on Twitter @TBeanieTaylor.