GREAT LAKES, Ill., (NNS) -- Charles W. Flanagan High School in Pembroke Pines, Fla., was named the Navy Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps (NJROTC) National Academic, Athletic and Drill champions, May 7.
The announcement was made to the 25 competing units for the 2013 national title using computer video streaming from the Naval Service Training Command (NSTC) headquartered on Naval Station Great Lakes, Ill., by Rear Adm. Dee L. Mewbourne, commander, Naval Service Training Command (NSTC), and Dr. J.D. Smith, Ph.D., NJROTC director.
The 25 top regional NJROTC units, representing numerous states from coast to coast, were challenged on their athleticism, tested in academics, and evaluated on the drill. Traditionally the competition is held at Chevalier Hall at Naval Air Technical Training Center (NATTC) and at the Naval Air Station (NAS) Pensacola Track and Parade Field. However, this year, the competition was held virtually.
"When I think of all the cadets in our citizenship development program, some that I have had the pleasure of meeting, but far too many that I have yet to meet, I am amazed at their tremendous commitment to the program," said Mewbourne. "The effort put forward by each of the units and the teamwork and accomplishments of everyone involved were incredible."
Competition for this year's championship was held at each unit's high school. Drill was videotaped and then judged by an independent contractor to include color guard and unarmed and armed drill exhibitions. Athletic results were monitored by independent parties, then submitted with along with ungraded academic tests.
"I would like to thank each of the schools for embracing this idea of virtual nationals," said Smith. "This year we awarded the James H. Harvey Sportsmanship Award to Los Fresnos High School in Texas because they were instrumental in getting the other schools encouraged and excited about the competition this year. Their commitment was integral in execution of nationals and benefitted all involved."
Even though units weren't able to travel to NAS Pensacola to compete against each other, the Flanagan unit was very proud to be a two-time winner.
"Nothing can describe this feeling", said Cadet Lt. Cmdr. Luis Acosta, a senior and the cadet battalion commanding officer of the Flanagan NJROTC Unit. "I was tasked to lead the effort to repeat and I feel as though a tremendous weight has been lifted from my shoulders. These Cadets worked so hard and did everything asked of them. I couldn't be more proud. Mission accomplished!"
While Flanagan finished first, four of last year's top five units returned to the leaderboard this year. Boca Raton (Fla.), finished second followed by Winter Park (Fla.), Centennial (Nev.) and Shawnee Mission North (Kan.).
Twenty-five of more than 600 NJROTC units qualify at 11 regional competitions held around the country in March and April each year for the national competition.
"After States in March, it took the cadets a few days to warm up to the idea of a virtual nationals, since the opponents were invisible", said Lt. Cmdr. Jim Stauffer, the Naval Science Instructor at Flanagan High School NJROTC. "But they quickly realized it counted just as much and then they went crazy, pushing each other to improve. I am so proud of my fellow instructors and cadets from Boca Raton and Winter Park for their amazing performances. We were just lucky to win - this competition was too close to call!"
The winners were determined by the accumulation of the scores of each event. Participating high schools included: Boca Raton, Fla., Cabrillo, Cali., Cape Fear, N. C., Centennial, Nev., Clark, Nev., Escambia, Fla., Flanagan, Fla., Green Run, Va., Huntingtown, Md., La Habra, Cali., Los Fresnos, Texas, Nease, Fla., Neshoba Central, Miss., Northmont, Ohio, Norview, Va., Oak Harbor, Wash., Passaic County Technical Institute, N.J., Richland Northeast, S.C., Shawnee Mission North, Kan., Southold, N.Y., Southwest, Texas, Union Grove, Ga., Willard, Mo., Winter Park, Fla., and Zion-Benton, Ill.
"The NJROTC program is more than just the national competition," said Mewbourne. "It is a program that produces future leaders for our nation, providing structure, encouraging academics and community involvement, to develop our young men and women into responsible citizens."
The Navy Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps (NJROTC) and Navy National Defense Cadet Corps (NNDCC) programs seek to instill in participating high school students the values of citizenship, service to the United States, personal responsibility and a sense of accomplishment. The NJROTC and NNDCC programs strive to build a strong foundation of citizenship within America's future leaders.
Currently NJROTC and NNDCC units are operating at more than 600 high schools around the world with more than 89,000 cadets participating.
In addition to regular classroom instruction, NJROTC and NNDCC cadets participate in a number of extra-curricular activities throughout the school year and during the summer months that are designed to stimulate learning by hands-on experiences and to reinforce the program's curriculum. Cadet extra-curricular activities include community service projects, drill competitions, academic competitions, and visits to naval installations.
Headquartered on Naval Station Great Lakes, Ill., Mewbourne and NSTC oversee 98 percent of initial officer and enlisted accessions training for the Navy. This includes the Naval Reserve Officers Training Corps (NROTC) at more than 160 colleges and universities, Officer Training Command (OTC) on Naval Station Newport, R.I., Recruit Training Command (RTC), the Navy's only boot camp, at Great Lakes, Ill., as well as the NJROTC/NNDCC citizenship development high school units worldwide.
For more information about NJROTC, visit www.njrotc.navy.mil/ .
For more information about NSTC, visit http://www.netc.navy.mil/nstc/ or visit the NSTC Facebook pages at https://www.facebook.com/NavalServiceTraining/ .
For more news from Naval Service Training Command, visit www.navy.mil/local/greatlakes/.