Cusseta, Ga. (WRBL) – One team from Chattahoochee County High School will represent the Panthers at a State Championship Competition. This team doesn’t play on a grid iron or a diamond, instead is the Chatt. Co. Junior ROTC program. Just like any team sport these cadets rely on each other to get the job done.
“You definitely have to play your part. It’s not a one man team where you can do it all on your own shoulders. You have one person for this job. You have set jobs and everyone has to do them. If you don’t play your part, definitely makes a difference,” said junior Lohgan Fletcher.
Chatt. Co. will compete in the state wide “Raider Competition”, where cadets have to construct a rope bridge, get 8 people across the bridge and tear it down in a timed event. Along with that they will also have to go across different obstacles to test their physical fitness. The Panthers will send an all-boys team, a mixed team, and an all-girls team. The man who’s in charge of leading these cadets for the past 14 years is First Sergeant Michael Johnson. First Sergeant Johnson also spent 21 years in the US Military, and he brings a leadership style that’s welcoming and brings that military discipline to the table.
“Kids want to be disciplined and once they get disciplined and they get results they love it. The kids will run through brick walls if you treat them right and you make them feel welcomed,” said Johnson.
And by welcoming all these cadets from different walks of life has paid off tremendously. The cadets have become leaders because they feel valued.
“I do some other sports like track here, and it’s really easy to get lost because we have a lot kids that come out there. But with JR ROTC, we do have many students there, First Sergeant and Colonel they have a way of making it feel like you are known and you are welcomed,” said senior Robert Brown.
Junior ROTC has also helped other students grow as people in and outside of the classroom.
“My freshman year, I’m telling you, I could not talk. I could not have sat here and had this conversation. I could not have done anything. But throughout the years and all the teams that I’ve been on and been in JR ROTC it’s helped me build up my confidence and my public speaking,” said junior Kyleigh Beasley.
Some of these students also have parents that are currently serving in the military in close by Fort Moore. By going through the Junior ROTC program the cadets have found a new avenue to relate to their parents.
“Seeing my dad in the Army my whole life was something that I really admired and looked up to. Going the officer route it’s just something like I could make my dad proud,” said junior Nathaniel Montoya.
The State Raider Competition will take place this Saturday, October 28th, at Spalding High School in Griffin, Georgia.