PENSACOLA, Fla. (NNS) -- Florida's Charles W. Flanagan High School outlasted 24 other units to capture the 2012 Navy Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps (NJROTC) National Academic, Athletic and Drill Championship here April 13-14.
The 25 NJROTC units, representing 15 states from coast to coast, were challenged on their athleticism, tested in academics and evaluated on the drill deck during competition held at the Naval Air Technical Training Center's (NATTC) Chevalier Hall and on the Naval Air Station (NAS) Pensacola Track and Parade Field.
"This has been such a great feeling," said Cadet Lt. Cmdr. Carlos Mongui, a senior and the cadet battalion commanding officer of the Flanagan NJROTC unit. "I am very proud of each and every cadet for their hard work. My senior year couldn't have ended any better."
"The cadets worked very hard to get here, not just undergoing the extra practices in drill and athletics to prepare, but extra studying for the academics as well," said Lt. Cmdr. Jim Stauffer, senior naval science instructor for Flanagan High School, located in Pembroke Pines, Fla.
The personnel inspections, color guard and most drill competitions were judged by Navy Recruit Division commanders and Marine Corps drill instructors from Officer Training Command, Newport, R.I.
In addition, Marines from Marine Aviation Training Support Group-21 assisted in judging the armed rifle exhibition, while Sailors from the Navy Recruiting Orientation Unit at NAS Pensacola judged the curl-up and push-up portions of the competition.
While Flanagan High School finished first, four of last year's top five units returned to the top this year. Boca Raton (Fla.) High School, last year's champion, finished second followed by Centennial (Las Vegas) High School.
Troy (Fullerton, Calif.) High School, last year's runner-up, finished fourth and Shawnee Mission North (Kan.) High School, placed fifth.
Approximately 25 of more than 600 NJROTC units qualify for the national competition annually.
"One of the life lessons NJROTC teaches the cadets is that hard work pays off in good results," said Stauffer. "In competitions like the Nationals, there are teams, but there is also a strong sense of competition between the individuals."
"Boca Raton is just up the road, and we have tremendous respect for their program," said Stauffer. "Both schools benefit greatly from the intense, close competition that is becoming the norm at any Area 7 meet during the school year."
Flanagan's NJROTC program was started in 2001 and Naval Science Instructor, Senior Chief Petty Officer Wayne Smith, was there to open the doors and just last year was named Flanagan High School Teacher of the Year.
"Only 20 percent of our team will be lost to graduation," said Smith. "I look forward to seeing what this team will accomplish in the coming year."
"The unit held fundraisers throughout the year to fund this trip," Stauffer said. "Most of the financial burden falls on the backs of the parents as our annual expenses exceed $40,000. We are always looking for creative ways to keep the coffers from running dry. The parents, school and community really supported and got behind these kids."
NJROTC is a citizenship development program that instills in high school students and in U.S. secondary educational institutions the value of citizenship and service to the United States.
For more information about NJROTC, visit www.njrotc.navy.mil/.
For more news from Naval Service Training Command, visit www.navy.mil/local/greatlakes/.