Precision. Attention to detail. Discipline and dedication. All are qualities cultivated at a statewide Junior ROTC competition held at Service High School in Anchorage this Saturday
From Bethel to North Pole to Eagle River, more than eleven teams took part in day long event in which active duty members of the military judged them for their ability to step in time together and for that evasive quality they call, "snap."
"You could hear a pin drop," said Canyon Porter, a Navy seaman at Chugiak High. "It's what I live for pretty much. It's one of the main reasons I look forward to coming to ROTC Class every day."
The cadets are judged for more than just their performance in drills. Academics are important too. Dimond High won the large unit grade point competition. It's team had a GPA of 3.37.
Bethel Regional High School won the small unit competition with a 3.13 GPA.
The cumulative GPA for cadets in the statewide competition is 3.55, with many on track for scholarships worth tens of thousands of dollars.
Tom Foust, a Naval science instructor at Service High, says most JROTC programs require students to keep up their grades.
"So you add all of that up, and it shows that they are taking the initiative to work hard for grades, to make sure they stay in school, to realize that you not only need to get a college degree but also figure out a way to pay for that college degree" says Foust. "And once you've created that sense of ownership with them, then you created young leaders instead of followers."
There were many levels of competition this Saturday, but Dimond, East, Service and Colony won some of the major categories. Dimond and Colony recently placed in a regional multi-state competition and are headed for nationals later this year.