Robertsdale Navy Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps has once again been recognized by the Navy as a Distinguished Unit with Academic Honors. The program, which is under the leadership of Commander …
Robertsdale Navy Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps has once again been recognized by the Navy as a Distinguished Unit with Academic Honors.
The program, which is under the leadership of Commander William Starr, achieved the highest honors among 12 schools in a five-state area.
"Each year, we fill out an end-of-year report and gain points throughout the year by entering competitions, hosting events and community service" Starr said. "We have from April 1 to March 1 to accumulate points through community service and ranking at our competitions throughout the year."
"This year, we had 2,500 hours of community service. Our air rifle team ranked ninth in the country. The orienteering team ranked fifth. The cyber patriot team ranked in the top 12.5% in the country. Our robotics team is competing in an international championship, and the color guard team was invited to present at the Daytona 500 and Talladega race," Starr said. "We also hosted several competitions on our own campus."
The students also dedicated their time to volunteering at local nursing homes, soup kitchens and various community events throughout the county.
"They volunteered at the NCAA volleyball championship, ran booths at the renaissance fair and assisted at the rodeo by brushing horses," Starr said. "And, of course, we volunteered at Talladega and Daytona and have been invited back again for next year."
Haley Wheeles, a 10th-grade student and member of the air rifle team, also achieved a notable individual accomplishment by placing ninth at the national air rifle championships in Ohio earlier this year.
The team is now preparing to compete in the CMP Junior Olympics scheduled for July.
However, the summer break won't slow down these students as many will also participate in various summer camps to sharpen their skills.
"We have students traveling to Mississippi, Tennessee, Florida and Alabama for weeklong camps in STEM, cyber science and leadership," Starr said. "Students at the STEM camps will practice physical fitness in the mornings and classroom learning in the afternoons. The cyber camp is sponsored by the NSA [National Security Agency], and they will learn about careers in computer science."
Starr emphasized the program's unique aspect of offering a wide range of activities for students to choose from.
"JROTC has the community service, shooting team and the robotics team," Starr said. "There is truly something for everybody."