Thomas Jefferson

High School | Home of the Spartans

Marching to Success

Posted 03/20/2018 by Jay Iyema

TJ's Drill Team wows the crowd at the Pep Rally. photo by Will Forrester

The JROTC team succeeds in San Antonio, with plans for further competition.

Thomas Jefferson High School offers many electives, such as Drawing, World Languages, and Psychology. Another elective option is the Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps (JROTC). Students in JROTC learn about civics, leadership,  following the army model. The class helps students understand the concept of community service, service learning, and giving back to the community, while also helping students prepare for college and post-secondary jobs.

Students in JROTC compete in many different activities such as Joint Leadership Academic Bowl ( J.LAB) where students compete online against other schools and answer questions about the program. Eventually, some students qualify to go to Washington D.C or other regions along with Drill Team and Honor Platoon (HP). Students in these specialties are immersed in a world of learning, teamwork, and discipline. “I love being a part of my HP team. They have become my second family, [and] together we have formed a very strong bond,” said freshman Jael Iyema.

Both Drill Team and HP went to San Antonio, Texas, to compete in early January. They stayed in San Antonio for three days. During competition, Drill Team participated in four phases. In phase one, Platoon inspections were done on students, who were examined from head to toe in their uniforms before being asked a series of knowledge questions about the program. Phase two was the colorguard; in this phase, students held two flags and two guns and had to memorize specific routines to demonstrate coordination and discipline. Phase three of the competition was armed regulation. These students held rifles while following a chain of commands, and demonstrated that they could march as soldiers. Finally, phase four was the armed exception, where students spun rifles.

The HP teams followed the same process, except they were unarmed. TJ’s Drill Team placed 12th, and HP placed 6th overall. The way that the events were scheduled meant that the students had to leave during the middle of winter break, so they had to come in to practice during their off time. “Most teenagers I know don’t like to take their time to continue work and training, but they did. They put the time in,” commended JROTC Sargent Johns.

Both Drill and HP teams will travel to Kentucky to compete again during spring break. The HP team will also compete in Daytona, Florida in May, and they hope to bring more trophies back to their beloved school. The perseverance and hard work that these students display shows in their results, and makes them strong ambassadors for the Spartan community.