OXFORD, Miss. – More than 300 students from eight high schools participated in the Junior Naval Reserve Officers Training Corps Area Eight Drill Meet, which was conducted Feb. 11 at the University of Mississippi.
Students braved some of the year’s coldest temperatures to compete in company drill, personnel inspections and physical contests.
The annual drill meet not only validates the hard work of NJROTC cadets, but also serves as a leadership medium for Naval ROTC midshipmen at Ole Miss. The Naval ROTC student staff works for months in preparation of every aspect of the event, which culminates in the judging, coordination and execution of the event itself.
“We had a great turnout this year, and the cadets definitely seem to enjoy themselves while they’re here,” said Caleb Smith, a junior mechanical engineering major from Owensboro, Ky., who plans to commission as a Marine Corps officer. “I did four years in NJROTC, and I remember how serious the drill meets were. I’m just glad that we have the opportunity to host this every year and show them what the NROTC is like and what the expectations are at the college level.”
Neshoba Central High School of Philadelphia won several first place awards, including the overall first place award, marking the second year in a row that Cadet Commander Nicholas Warrick has seen his unit succeed.
“I am just happy that all the hard work of the cadets paid off,” Warrick said. “We work with our chief all year and even drill during a camp during the summer.”
Alma High School of Alma, Ark., took second place overall, and third place went to Pelham High School of Pelham, Ala.
Skyla Pearson, a senior from Neshoba Central High School, said she enjoyed interacting with the campus midshipmen, whom she hopes to join next year. Pearson recently was accepted to the university, and she has applied for the NROTC National Scholarship.
“The campus is really nice and getting into the NROTC here has been a goal of mine since I was a freshman,” Pearson said. “I am working really hard in school and I run all the time. I really hope that I can find a place here.”
Other high schools participating in the drill meet were: Greenwood High School of Greenwood, Warren Central High School of Vicksburg, Central High School of Phenix City, Ala., Camden Fairview High School of Camden, Ark., and Ouachita Parish High School of Ouachita Parish, La.
The NROTC program trains young men and women for leadership positions in an increasingly technical U.S. Navy and Marine Corps. The program is overseen by the Naval Service Training Command, headquartered at Naval Station Great Lakes, Ill.
For more information on NROTC programs at Ole Miss, go to https://www.olemiss.edu/depts/naval_science/.