While most teenagers stayed home this summer, six students from La Vega High School Navy Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (NJROTC) embraced a greater purpose: Navy/ Marine Corps Summer leadership camps.
NJROTC is a 9-12 grade level leadership development, citizenship and academic excellence program found throughout the United States and across the world.
Cadets Nicholas Seybert and Aalyssiah Vasquez attended North Texas Leadership Academy held at Joint Reserve Base, Fort Worth, Texas on June 9-14. Leadership Academy is an advanced team-building and mentoring program for junior and senior high school students which prepares them for greater responsibilities in their respective units. Cadets from ten North Texas schools received over 80 hours of instruction which included intensive physical conditioning, sword and rifle drill instruction, sailing, current events and junior cadet coaching skills. Cadet Seybert distinguished himself by recording the best orienteering land navigation completion time in Leadership Academy history.
All aspects of naval life were explored including the range of opportunities available within the surface, submarine, nuclear and aviation communities of the Navy and Marine Corps.
Cadets experienced one aspect of the aviation community when they took the controls of the C-130 Hercules heavy lift aircraft simulator at Marine Air Group 41.
The highlight of the week culminated in the award of the coveted “Silver Leadership Cord.” This identifies a cadet who has attended leadership camp and sets him or her apart from peers as an exceptional cadet ready to embrace more responsibility.
Honored guests included members of the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 2148 Waco, Commander Alton Leuschner, Senior Vice Commander Miguel Valverde and Post Members George Weaver and Ray Moseley. Post 2148 sponsored all six cadets donating over $500.00. Post members also awarded American flags to each graduating La Vega cadet at both camps.
A second camp was held the following week for freshman and sophomore cadets at the same location. Basic Leadership Training or” B.L.T “ cadets experienced training under the watchful eye of volunteer instructors from the U.S. Marine Corps. The cadets in attendance from La Vega High School included Delvin Smith, Lauren Zachery, Mary Mullinix and Hector Garcia.
Course curriculum included leadership theory, basic and advanced drill techniques, current affairs, job opportunities in the US Navy, swim qualifications and personnel uniform inspections. Several team-building exercises were held to hone decision making skills which included the “Lost at Sea” exercise in which teams were assigned the task of developing a survival plan with limited resources in a combat environment. The entire spectrum of Navy communities was also explored with emphasis on officer programs and scholarship application and academic preparation skills. Cadets earned the Basic Leadership Training completion ribbon from NJROTC and are now authorized its wear. Graduation was attended by Post 2148 Senior Vice Commander Miguel Valverde and member, Mr. Tony Molina.
Many area cadets will continue in careers in the military through scholarship programs of Navy Reserve Officer Training Corps (NROTC) and other officer accession programs.