Thomas Jefferson

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Marching to Victory

Posted 05/24/2017 by Grace Leonard

Thomas Jefferson's HP Regulation Team preparing to compete at Nationals in Kentucky. photo by Kayla Anderson

TJ ROTC’s whirlwind season, full of victories and hard work, came to a close on April 15th.

JROTC HP (the Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps Honor Platoon) has had numerous competitions throughout the year, and ultimately qualified for nationals. The team had a series of smaller competitions throughout the year, including traveling to Grand Junction, Fort Knox, All City, and Rocky Mountain Regionals. Western Regionals, the competition where TJ qualified for Army Nationals, occurred on February 1st through 5th in San Antonio, Texas. Only the top ten teams moved on to Nationals in Kentucky on April 1st, and TJ’s team came in seventh. The team moved onto Army Nationals, where they placed 12th. Only the first place team gets to move on to the final competition in Florida, where all three military branches compete against each other.

A typical JROTC HP competition under the army branch consists of an exhibition routine, a color guard routine, a regulation routine, and an inspection. The exhibition routine is made up by the team themselves, color guard is a routine with flags, and regulation routines are a series of commands that the team commanders are required to execute. The inspection occurs for all competitors in the participants and they must learn first aid and other government skills on which they are tested.

Senior Kayla Anderson, commander for the HP regulation team, was one of three students in Denver to go to Nationals in 2014 as a spectator.  Anderson said, “When I got back I knew we had to go there. I didn’t want to watch again, I wanted to be there.”  Ever since that competition, the teams worked extremely hard to prepare in order to qualify for nationals. They practiced every lunch, after school, and during class. The teams even came to school over winter and spring break to prepare for the big regional and national competitions.  Their hard work clearly paid off this year.

The final JROTC competition, Rocky Mountain Regionals, wrapped up this season on Saturday April 15th.  This competition qualifies them for the Western Regional Competition, which will occur in February 2018.  Junior Katy Lopez Alegria remarked, “During Nationals this year I observed other drill teams to see what it would take to get to nationals in the upcoming year, and I think we have a good shot after our performance at the most recent competition.”  The team looks forward to competing in Western Regionals again next season.  JROTC teacher Sergeant Scott Johns remarked, “They’ve realised and finally saw the picture of what it looks like when they’re doing it the right way and they keep trying to improve upon that.” The team has a bright future ahead, and are excited to keep working hard to go to Nationals again next season.