EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WEHT) – Sixteen kids from all over the EVSC are headed down to Molena, Georgia where they will compete against 28 other co-ed JROTC programs, all looking for that number one spot on Saturday, November 6.
After school is generally the time for playing video games, hanging out with friends and family, and doing homework. But for these high schoolers, it means time for hard work training for an intense national competition.
“It’s almost like a tough mudder or an ultimate raider competition that you see adults do on ESPN,” said Jeffrey Lee, Senior Army Instructor, JROTC EVSC.
From running a 5K up and down a mountain, to detailed obstacles running, jumping and carrying heavy objects along the way. Even gliding themselves over a river with ropes and carabiners. They’ve been training since July to take first place, but they say it’s about much more than winning.
“Our biggest mission is to try to build young students and kids who join the program to be better citizens, to be better characters for themselves,” said Ethan Lee Worman, a senior at Harrison High School.
“It means giving me a step up in the future,” said Chayse Klinghagen, a junior at Reitz. “It gives me the skills that I need if I were to enlist or just to go out into the community and just lead by example at the very least. It gives me a family outside of my actual family.”
That one word used many times in their practice – family.
“They have to commit to one another. Our motto is family,” added Lee.
“It’s all a team effort,” added Worman. “It’s not just one person holding the line. It’s everybody together.”
As rough and tough as the JROTC family must be, it molds these kids into something much more.
“It’s a leadership course,” said Lee. “To whereas like these kids come together from all different backgrounds. The come together and form a team. That’s what we want to do in life, that’s what good leadership is.”
Chief Lee says he has made great connections with the students and he has been able to watch them grow throughout their lives. They say it’s not a 9 to 5 job and that it takes a lot of dedication but that it is all worth it.
“It’s great experience being a part of this team and I recommend it to anybody to come and join us and be a part of something bigger than themselves,” said Worman.
The JROTC program is run through the EVSC and if anyone wants to join they may reach out to their counselor at school.