The MacArthur High School Army JROTC Highlander Battalion has continued to earn recognition this fall, even after winning a State Championship last spring. In the span of a week in December, the Highlanders have added a handful of achievements to their continuously growing list.
“We've always had high standards and expectations of our program,” said MHS JROTC Senior Army Instructor MAJ Craig Redfearn. “We are constantly seeking opportunities to partner with organizations throughout the community. We strive for excellence in all we do. We feel that when cadets practice and train hard, their efforts will be recognized and rewarded.”
On December 3rd, the JROTC Highlander Battalion competed in the South Grand Prairie, Texas Drill Meet where they took on over 30 other teams from the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marines from both Oklahoma and Texas. Commanded by Cadet Sergeant Major John Kennedy, the team placed first in the Exhibition Drill Phase and third in the Regulations Phase. The Unarmed Drill Team, which was commanded by Cadet Lieutenant Colonel Gracie Kimbrell, took first during the Exhibition Phase, second in the Inspection Phase, and third in the Regulation Phase.
"To each cadet, it's sentimental because it shows all the hard work that we put in paid off,” said Kimbrell about what these honors mean to her and her fellow cadets.
More honors came as Cadet Private Wyatt Shaner won the LET One JROTC Cade of the Quarter Board and Cadet Sergeant Zackery Spencer won the LET 2 through 4 Cadet of the Quarter Board. Both students receive a JROTC certificate, a battalion coin, a congratulatory letter from the JROTC senior instructor and MHS principal, Danny Smith. Additionally, both will receive a Cadet of the Quarter arc, a Commendation Ribbon, and Cadet of the Quarter Ribbon for their uniform as well as 250 points towards their next promotion.
"The battalion motto is to "Live By The Creed", therefore every day our cadets strive for excellence,” added Command Sergeant Major ® Jesse J. Batts Jr., MHS Army Instructor.
The last bit of recognition came when the MHS JROTC Academic Team (commanded by Cadet Abram Rayos) qualified for the second round All Army Junior ROTC Leadership and Academic Bowl (JLAB). Team A consists of cadets Raegan Geib, Scott Mahrer, Braden Evans, and Khalil Mansouri and team B is made up of cadets Caleb Day and Zachariah Flores. The group is among the top 50-percent Academic and Leadership Teams worldwide.
“We have seen growth this year, numerically with the addition of 8th graders into the program,” Redfearn said. “Just as important, we are consistently witnessing growth within the cadets concerning citizen and Leadership Development.”