James Madison High School JROTC: A Year of Change
The James Madison JROTC program started the year at a disadvantage: dealing with its third senior army instructor within seven months, displaced by the renovation of their building, and a brand new student/cadet leadership group; the future looked rocky. Nevertheless, the cadets of James Madison showed their perseverance and commitment to the program, the school, and their community.
The year started with a bang with support to football games, memorial ceremonies, competitions, fundraisers, and, of course, academic studies. A highlight of the fall was the program’s support to the St. Margaret's Episcopal pumpkin patch. Nearly 100 cadets helped unload and stack thousands of pumpkins on a very hot October Saturday morning; never complaining or quitting. Church officials had nothing but great things to say regarding the ongoing support that the Madison JROTC program provides each year.
Another large event for the Maverick Battalion was the school blood drive. Cadets organized and ran a campus-wide operation that supported a local blood donation organization. During the event, cadets were faced with unforeseen challenges and had to adapt and quickly develop ways to overcome the problems. Overall, it was a great learning experience for them.
Second semester brought additional competitions, more community events, the cadet military ball, and end of year awards ceremony. The senior class, while focused on academics and cadet life, started to look toward the future. Many cadets debated service in our military, college life, or entering the workforce. In the end, the program has a dedicated group of seniors, who accounted for numerous academic scholarships and Senior ROTC scholarships. A highlight, and a “first” in the history of James Madison High School, Cadet Kiersten Schaefer was offered, and accepted, an athletic scholarship to Schreiner University to compete on their air rifle team. Kiersten becomes the first Maverick to shoot at the collegiate level, and one of only a handful from North East School district. The Maverick Battalion will also be well represented among all branches of the armed services by cadets who have already enlisted or are planning on enlisting.
Beyond JROTC, our cadets were integrated into all areas of campus life, from varsity athletics to the districts only agricultural magnet program. As with any organization, the program went through highs and lows, tears were shed, and laughs were shared. In the end, the James Madison JROTC Maverick Battalion is finishing the year stronger than ever.