Senior cadets honored at eighth annual JROTC Military Ball

Senior cadets honored at eighth annual JROTC Military Ball

The Charles County Public Schools Junior Reserve Officers Training Corp (JROTC) program provides student cadets with learning opportunities that are deeply rooted in military traditions. These traditions range from participating in the Color Guard and drill meets to serving as leaders in their school communities. For the 170 senior cadets enrolled in the program at Charles County’s seven high schools, the Joint Services Military Ball is a tradition held annually to honor and celebrate their participation in JROTC.

This year’s ball was held Dec. 5 at North Point High School, and is the eighth annual event coordinated by the school system. As part of the ball, cadets participate in a variety of ceremonial military traditions including the Presentation of Colors by the Joint JROTC Color Guard, a toast to honor military personnel, leaders and ball guests, and the selection of a military court.  Senior cadets are also presented with certificates of participation from their program instructors to honor their JROTC commitment.

Maurice J. McDonough High School senior cadet Jacob Leapley served as the master of ceremony and was assisted by La Plata High School senior cadet Jadalynn Haia, who served as the mistress of ceremony. Guests were welcomed by Board of Education Chairman Roberta S. Wise. The toast portion of the ball featured references to the Air Force, Army, Coast Guard, Marine Corps, Navy, JROTC instructors and to all cadets in attendance. Following the toasts, a celebratory dinner was held and senior cadets were called on to the floor by high school to receive their certificates. After certificates were presented to all cadets, students and guests participated in two other military ball traditions: cake cutting and the presentation of the military court.

The military court consists of a king and queen who are selected from students who have participated in their school’s JROTC program each year in during their high school career. North Point senior Damarcus Coleman was this year’s king, and Katelyn Barnes from La Plata was named queen for the 2014 ball.

The JROTC program is available at all seven county high schools, and teaches students skills, values and good citizenship to the community. Participation in JROTC also provides advanced rank opportunities for students who plan to enter the military after high school. JROTC programs were first introduced in Charles County Public Schools in 1998 at Henry E. Lackey High School. Former longtime Board of Education member Col. Donald M. Wade, who passed away earlier this year, was instrumental in launching the program for Charles County students. During this year’s event, Superintendent of Schools Dr. Kimberly Hill announced that future military balls coordinated by the school system would now be named in Wade’s honor.

Both the programs at Lackey and North Point high schools represent the Air Force; the programs at McDonough and Stone represent the Army; La Plata, as well as Westlake High School, features a JROTC program that represents the Navy; and the program at St. Charles represents the Marine Corps. More than 850 students are enrolled in county JROTC programs this school year. These students also participate in a county drill meet, held annually, and co-curricular activities such as Color Guards, Armed and Unarmed drill teams, Armed and Unarmed exhibition drill teams, academic and field competitions.

Charles County Public Schools provides 26,500 students in grades prekindergarten through 12 with an academically challenging education. Located in Southern Maryland, Charles County Public Schools has 36 schools that offer a technologically advanced, progressive and high quality education that builds character, equips for leadership and prepares students for life, careers and higher education.

The Charles County public school system does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, age or disability in its programs, activities or employment practices. For inquiries, please contact Dr. Patricia Vaira, Title IX/ADA/Section 504 Coordinator (students) or Pamela K. Murphy, Title IX/ADA/Section 504 coordinator (employees/ adults), at Charles County Public Schools, Jesse L. Starkey Administration Building, P.O. Box 2770, La Plata, MD 20646; 301-932-6610/301-870-3814. For special accommodations call 301-934-7230 or TDD 1-800-735-2258 two weeks prior to the event.

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