JROTC Organization Day

JROTC Organization Day push ball
By: Todd Martin
The goal is unity through competition.
On a practice field at Killeen High School Friday, a group of 121 Junior ROTC cadets formed up in five companies and went head to head in five stations to earn points and declare a winner in the battalion’s annual Organization Day.
“It’s all competitive and it’s about unity,” said retired Lt. Col. John Stanley, lead JROTC instructor at KHS. It was the first full battalion activity of the school year and a great live training opportunity.
Senior Jaren Queja, the cadet battalion commander said the competition served to unite the large battalion from freshmen through seniors and across the companies.
Each company wore their own color and made their own battle flag, to be judged for points. They cycled through games like push ball and freeze Frisbee, as well as a pushup contest, inspection and at the end, tug-of-war matches.
“It’s a great feeling to support my favorite program at the school,” Queja said. “It’s vital for us to bring the battalion together. It’s about esprit de corps, which is very special to us. We build relationships between the leaders and from freshmen all the way up.”
In push ball, students from competing companies attempted to guide a huge inflated ball through a goal similar to soccer. Rules required the same number of male and female cadets on each team.
“They planned this with guidance from us,” Stanley said, explaining that students organized the day of competition. “This helps prepare them to do it on their own. Next week we’ll talk about the problems we faced. They are learning through this.”
Awards and bragging rights were on the line, but mostly, cadet leaders said, it was a day to have fun and do some bonding.
“The goal is to bond with the new freshmen and to have fun,” said senior Palealiioleola Naugaotega, a company commander. “We have a lot of strict rules, but this is fun.”
Now in her fourth year of JROTC, she said the program has made her a stronger citizen and she is excited to pass the lessons along.
“As seniors it’s sad to think we’re leaving a great program behind,” said Queja. “We want to make sure that success continues and that we empower our new students with knowledge. We want to be the best.”
All of KISD’s JROTC battalions get a look at one another at the annual Veterans Day parade coming up next month.