By MyBaseGuide Staff Member
Story by Michael Miller on 04/09/2019
PENSACOLA, Fla. (April 6, 2019) Gaither High School from Tampa, Florida claimed this year's title at the 2019 Navy Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps (NJROTC) National Academic, Athletic and Drill Championship onboard Naval Air Station (NAS) Pensacola April 5-6.

The 26 NJROTC units, representing 14 states from coast-to-coast, were challenged on their athleticism, tested in academics and evaluated on the drill deck during the competition held at the Naval Air Technical Training Center's (NATTC) Chevalier Hall.

"It was fantastic to see all the NJROTC units from across the country," said Rear Adm. Mike Bernacchi, commander, Naval Service Training Command (NSTC), who oversees the NJROTC program and was the guest speaker at the awards ceremony. "Citizenship, character, fitness, that is what this program is all about. The NJROTC cadets that I have met this weekend bring all those characteristics together and remind me that we have incredible instructors, great school systems who run these programs, amazing parents who support and most importantly the most phenomenal young people you will ever meet."

An awards ceremony was held at the National Museum of Naval Aviation after the competition was finished with participation certificates going to all 26 schools as well as trophies for each category including overall trophies to the top five units.

"It feels unreal right nowjust insane," said Cadet Cmdr. Jason Dodson, a senior at Gaither High School. "So much hard work was put in with us all coming together as a team and being on the same page."

This year the unit piled up 5,539 points to capture the title. Last year's champion, Green Run High School from Virginia Beach, Virginia, came in second with 5,477 points. Centennial High School from Las Vegas, finished third with 5,427 points. Troy High School from Fullerton, California. was fourth with 5,423 points and Paloma Valley High School from Menifee, California, rounded out the Top Five with 5,417 points.

The personnel inspections, color guard and the drill events at the competition were judged by Navy Recruit Division Commanders (RDC's) and Marine Corps drill instructors (DI's) from Officer Training Command (OTCN), Naval Station Newport, Rhode Island.

In addition, Marines from Marine Aviation Training Support Group-21 assisted in judging the drill events, while Sailors from the Navy Recruiting Orientation Unit at NAS Pensacola judged the curl-up and push-up portions of the competition.

Of the 583 NJROTC units worldwide, 26 qualify for the national competition annually.

Other NJROTC units participating in this year's Nationals included: Nease (Ponte Vedra, Florida) High School; Escambia (Pensacola, Florida) High School; Pace (Florida) High School; Shawnee Mission North (Overland Park, Kansas) High School; Norview (Norfolk, Virginia) High School; Colts Neck (New Jersey) High School; Osbourn Park (Manassas, Virginia) Senior High School; Zion-Benton (Zion, Illinois) High School; Southeast Guilford (Greensboro, North Carolina) High School; Pisgah (Canton, North Carolina) High School; Willard (Missouri) High School; Floyd Central (Floyds Knobs, Indiana) High School; North Cobb (Kennesaw, Georgia) High School; Notre Dame (Utica, New York) High School; Spoto (Riverview, Florida) High School; Patrick Henry (San Diego, California) High School; Flour Bluff (Corpus Christi, Texas) High School; South Effingham (Guyton, Georgia) High School; Clements (Sugar Land, Texas) High School; Myrtle Beach (South Carolina) High School; Chester W. Nimitz (Houston, Texas) High School

"The 26 teams who competed this year qualified for this national competition through a rigorous regional competition schedule," said Mark Watson, deputy director for the NJROTC program. "These teams are all fantastic NJROTC programs that have good instructors and great students. They are all winners."

The NJROTC, or Citizenship Development, program is currently under the direction of Bernacchi and his NSTC staff, headquartered onboard Naval Station Great Lakes, Illinois, and NAS Pensacola.

NJROTC is a citizenship development program that instills in high school students and in U.S. secondary educational institutions the value of citizenship and service to the United States.

In addition to regular classroom instruction, NJROTC cadets participate in a number of extra-curricular activities throughout the school year and during the summer months that are designed to stimulate learning by hands-on experiences and to reinforce the program's curriculum. Cadet extra-curricular activities include community service projects, drill competitions, academic competitions, visits to naval installations, and Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) training.

NSTC oversees 98 percent of initial officer and enlisted accessions training for the Navy, as well as the Navy's Citizenship Development program. NSTC also includes Recruit Training Command (RTC), the Navy's only boot camp also at Naval Station Great Lakes, the Navy ROTC program at more than 160 colleges and universities, Officer Training Command (OTC) Newport, Rhode Island, and Navy Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps (NJROTC) and Navy National Defense Cadet Corps (NDCC) citizenship development programs at more than 600 high schools worldwide.

For more information about NJROTC, visit www.njrotc.navy.mil/.
For more information about NSTC, visit http://www.netc.navy.mil/nstc/ or visit the NSTC Facebook pages at https://www.facebook.com/NavalServiceTraining/.




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