JROTC Leadership Team places third in national competition

By Derik Vanderford dvanderford@civitasmedia.com

May 16, 2014

UNION COUNTY — For the seventh straight year, the Union County High School JROTC Leadership Team placed in the national finals.

The UCHS JROTC Leadership Team placed third in the nation at the 2014 Army JROTC Academic and Leadership Bowl, sponsored by Norwich University.

The team’s third-place ranking was out of 40 schools which made it to the third and final level of the bowl. The competition is open to JROTC programs from all over the country and requires placing high enough in two rounds of Internet testing to advance to the national finals. The UCHS team was up against schools from as far away as California, Texas and New York in the final round of the competition.

Team members include Nicole Fowler (team leader), Les Wentz, Alex Childers, Skylar Senn, Kolby Riddle and Sarah McGee.

“We feel like we are part of the rising tide here at UCHS,” said JROTC Instructor Col. John O’Dell, as he mentioned other successful programs at the school such as the varsity softball team (which is looking toward a state championship after success thus far in the playoffs) and the indoor percussion ensemble (which placed 14th at WGI World Championships).

“We will proudly take our place among those.”

The students were required to learn material from three units of JROTC curriculum — Leadership; Foundations for Success; and Citizenship and History — as well as from a separate book, George C. Marshall Leadership Principles.

O’Dell said the powerful curriculum such as the Foundations for Success unit helped raise students’ scores in other classes.

JROTC Cadet Les Wentz said the experience has been a great challenge.

“Not many things have challenged me this much; it’s something I’ve had to focus on and learn,” Wentz said. “It taught me to work with a team. I usually work by myself, but this has taught me how to rely on others and have others help. That was the biggest thing for me.”