Franklin High School JROTC Drill Teams Bring Home Trophies

Members of the FHS JROTC color guard during the March 3 competition.

Members of Franklin High School’s Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps took home four trophies March 4 in a league competition.

The competition drew more than 400 Junior ROTC cadets from 11 high schools to the school, where they demonstrated thair color guards drill teams and stood for a graded inspection.

Franklin’s Warrior Battalion took second place in the “armed platoon” exhibition and third place each in the “armed color guard,” “armed exhibition” and overall armed competition.

The competition was judged by ROTC cadets from Rutgers and Seton Hall universities programs. Franklin JROTC’s Sgt. (Ret.) Samuel Bobe-Gonzalez said the judges were looking for precision.

“Everything they do has to have a formality,” he said. “How they carry themselves, their uniforms. The sequence of events cannot be wrong. The movements have to be precise.”

The categories in which the students competed included armed and unarmed inspection, armed and unarmed color guard, armed and unarmed exhibition and armed and unarmed platoon.

Franklin’s JROTC program has more than 140 students on its rolls, not all of whom competed.

Major Jacqueline Vazquez, the battalion’s senior Army instructor, said she attributed the program’s popularity to how the students are treated.

“I attribute it to what we teach the kids and how we treat them, so the word of mouth goes out to the other kids than this program is good,” she said. “Also, the parents see what we contribute to the community and the school.”

Yerines Suriel-Baez, a senior and the Warrior Battalion’s commander, has been a JROTC member and has participated in drill competitions throughout her high school career.

“I like the fact that I’m with a team, and this is not only a team, it’s a family,” she said. “We laugh together, we cry together, we smile together and we go all the way through. I love the motivation and the fact that I get to represent my school and our hard work on this floor.”

Suriel-Baez said she has chosen the military to be her career, and has already enlisted in the Army Reserve.

“The plan is to go Army Reserves for four years of college, and then after college go active duty,” she said.

Other schools sending JROTC delegations to the competition were:

  • Hillside High School
  • Irvington High School
  • Lincoln High School, Jersey City
  • Eastside High School
  • Union High School
  • Paterson Charter School
  • Woodbridge High School
  • New Brunswick High School
  • McNair Academy, Jersey City
  • Central High School, Newark

The day was punctuated with the “promposal” made by one of the JROTC cadets to her boyfriend, with the help of the drill team.

2017 FHS JROTC Competition


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