West Bladen celebrates 100 years of JROTC

Nikki Pait Knights News

Last Saturday was a special day for all JROTC cadets and teachers — the 100th birthday of JROTC.

It was a spectacular celebration at West Bladen High School, with a ton of smiling faces on those who participated.

I went around to each of the visiting school groups and asked how it felt to celebrate the 100th birthday of JROTC and received a lot of good, no … great answers. Meredith Jordan, a student at West Bladen, said, “Honored. It helps so many people (and) helps you make new friends.”

I also had the honor of getting Col. Eli Ballard’s comments: “It feels great because JROTC is the best leadership course that a young person can take in high school. Later, if they decide to join the military, they can take JROTC in college.”

Schools that attended Saturday’s event at West Bladen included East Bladen High, Clinton High, Union High and St. Pauls High.

I managed to get some comments from students with those schools, like Devontae S. from Union, who said, “It feels good (to participate) because it makes you think about the past, present and future.”

Another student — Darius H. from Union High — said, “It feels amazing because you get to spend time with fellow cadets. When you think about the 100th birthday of JROTC, you know it’s been around for a long time. It is basically a blessing.”

When I had the pleasure of asking St. Pauls High students what they thought of the 5K, a student named Jonathan F. answered: “It inspires me because we’ve had this program for so long. It gets me to thinking about how much leadership we’ve inspired in young people.”

Those are just some of the comments from other JROTC cadets. Everyone had a great time. Let’s hope that JROTC will be here for the next 200, 300 or 400 years.

Nikki Pait is a senior at West Bladen High School and spring intern with the Bladen Journal.

Nikki Pait Knights News
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