Next to a field of cows, starring hundreds of freezing cadets – with a walk-on appearance by a goat – one of the first JROTC drill meets of the season took place on January 10 at East Bay High School. Boca Ciega brought around 40 cadets, all of whose favorite part of the day was arriving at school at 5:15 in the morning on a Saturday! Not really, but it was all well worth it, plus we had an hour bus ride there and then back to catch up on sleep. Additionally, we were bribed with McDonald’s and, honestly, what teenager would pass up that opportunity?
There were 18 schools in attendance, from Anclote High all the way to Zephyrhills High. There were many events each team could compete in, each for male, female, or mixed. Then either as squads (7-9 people) or platoons (13 people), armed or unarmed. In addition, there was male and female color guard and individual, dual, squad or platoon armed exhibition.
Each event was graded depending on several factors such as being precise, crisp, in proper uniform, keeping military bearing, staying in the time limit and properly following the commands. Exhibition, however, is graded a little differently. Exhibition is graded not only on being crisp and precise but also on the difficulty of the moves. Following lunch served by PDQ’s, there was the Knock-Out drill. To participate in Knock-Out drill cadets have to pay one dollar and then they all gather up into a huge formation. Someone calls out commands while graders walk around and dismiss any cadet who makes a mistake, until there are only ten left.
The last event of the day, of course, was the awards ceremony. Boca Ciega received a total of eight trophies. We placed first in two events, second in four events and third in two events. All in all, we had a great time and a great start to the season. We look forward to many more exciting meets and we thank the community for all of your wonderful support!