Calera High School Navy ROTC completes banner first year

Cadets at Parade Rest stand at the Activation Ceremony held at Calera High School in front of the student body and guests. Cadet Lieutenant Junior Grade Julia Grooms, NJROTC Commanding Officer, stands at front of the units. (Contributed)

Cadets at Parade Rest stand at the Activation Ceremony held at Calera High School in front of the student body and guests. Cadet Lieutenant Junior Grade Julia Grooms, NJROTC Commanding Officer, stands at front of the units. (Contributed)

By PHOEBE DONALD ROBINSON / Community Columnist

Calera High School Naval Junior Reserve Training Corps (NJROTC) has completed its first year at the school.

“The purpose of the NJROTC Program is to instill in students in secondary educational institutions the values of citizenship, service to the United States, personal responsibility and a sense of accomplishment,” said Maj. Aurelio Garcia who oversees the program. “We do this by promoting patriotism, developing informed and responsible citizens, promoting habits of orderliness and precision, promoting high school graduation and continuing education as well as developing leadership potential.”

Eighty-four cadets have had a banner year participating at multiple flag presenting details including Youth Day at Shelby County Historical Society quarterly meeting and Sons of the American Revolution State Conference.

Currently the program has three academic teams, three Color Guard teams, two physical fitness teams, three orienting teams and a full chain of command staff.

The physical fitness team participated in a five mile Mud Run competition held at the Naval Construction Battalion Base in Gulfport, Miss.

Out of the 37 NJROTC teams participating, Calera came in 14th.

The academic team competed in the Academic Brain Brawl at Pine Forest High School in Pensacola, Fla., coming in fourth out of 18 NJROTC units.

This summer the cadets will participate in Leadership Academy and summer camps.

The Calera NJROTC unit recently conducted their official Activation Ceremony in front of the entire student body and cadet parents.

Special guests include: Commander Merlin Ladner, Area 8 Manager NJROTC; Mr. Joel Dixon, principal of Calera High School; Mr. Tom Ferguson, deputy superintendent of Shelby County Schools; and Mr. Jon Graham, mayor of Calera.

“Calera High School cadets had to put on a ceremony complete with drill and a Pass-in-Review parade to conclude the ceremony,” said Garcia. “This is a fun but stressful time for the cadets because they really want to impress the student body and especially because they want Calera High School to be well represented.”

Cadet Lieutenant Junior Grade Julia Grooms, NJROTC Commanding Officer, received the Daughters of the American Revolution ROTC Medal as the outstanding cadet for 2014-2015.

LTJG Grooms is in charge of the cadets at Calera High School.

About Phoebe Donald Robinson

I am President of Donald Real Estate and Ins. Co., Inc., a company that my grandfather , Charles J. Donald, founded in 1925. I am the third generation owner of the business. I am also the Columbiana Columnist for the Shelby County Reporter.

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