The Socorro High School and Pebble Hills High School NJROTC teams earned their way to compete at the Area Nine Drill Championships in Oklahoma City, earlier this school year.
Following the local competition in October, both schools qualified and went on to represent Team SISD well at the area contest in January.
This was is the first time the Pebble Hills High School NJROTC traveled to Oklahoma City for the Area Nine Drill Championships since the program was relocated to Sparta.
“The Spartan cadets had to put in some work prior to this competition in order to rightfully earn their spot in OKC,” said Pebble Hills High School Senior Naval Science Instructor Justo Mendoza. “They got to experience the Area Nine Drill Championships, and their goal for next year is to make a return appearance and place higher, in hopes of earning a spot at the Navy Nationals in Pensacola, Florida.”
The Spartans placed the highest out of all the local participants that competed at the Area Nine competition. They earned fourth place overall, second place in Unarmed Exhibition, third place in Academic Team, and third place in Uniform Personnel Inspection.
“I feel like I’ve gotten very attached to the program since I started,” said Pebble Hills Battalion Commander Trent Henry. “We’ve worked so hard and competed at another level to be where we are now, and for it being our first year at Area Competition says a lot.”
The Socorro High School NJROTC faced a challenge this year with limited practice areas due to the reconstruction of their school; however, that did not deter their drive and determination.
“Our kids had to practice offsite at local parking lots or at home,” said Socorro High School Senior Naval Science Instructor Michael Morales. “Nonetheless, this did not stop them from achieving their goals throughout the year.”
Socorro High School NJROTC completed 8,000 hours of community service, performed all four local drill meet competitions, and over 100 color guards throughout the city.
“It’s a very nice thing to experience in high school, with your friends especially,” said Socorro High School NJROTC Company Commander Bryan Vazquez. “You get to learn so many new things and meet so many nice people.”
Socorro High School performed for the eighth straight year at the area competition against the top schools throughout six surrounding states. Of the 60 Area Nine high schools, 10 of them competed in January. Socorro High School finished in sixth place in Oklahoma City.
“Sixth place of 10 schools may not seem like a lifetime achievement, but the way I express it to them is that they placed sixth of 60 schools,” Morales said. “That is top 10 percent and they do this every year. Now, that is a lifetime achievement.”