The East Surry Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (JROTC) program seemed to enjoy being at home Saturday as it took on a large and impressive line-up of Raider teams from schools throughout the region while serving as host for its annual Raider Challenge.
Three East Surry teams were part of a field of 20 teams. Multiple teams from the same school, including East Surry, were designated by letters of the alphabet, beginning with A. Schools taking part included Bassett A, Bassett B, Fred T. Foard, South Rowan, Reagan, Surry Central, East Rowan, Ashe, North Iredell, Olympic A, Olympic B, Olympic C and Atkins.
Teammates worked together throughout the morning, competing in a series of timed challenges. The five events included Physical Fitness, Rope Bridge, Litter Carry, a five-kilometer march/run and a vehicle-pull event.
With competition ended, an early afternoon awards ceremony saw ribbons distributed for the top three teams in each event, while the top three overall finishers took home trophies.
The East Surry A-team took the day’s top prize with a dominant performance. The team claimed the overall trophy by placing first in three of the five competitions, Rope Bridge, Litter Carry and Vehicle Pull. The team also place third in the 5K event.
The East Surry B team placed third overall, claiming its own trophy. The team placed second in Rope Bridge and Vehicle Pull competition.
The team from North Iredell placed second overall while claiming first in Physical Fitness.
“The day went really well,” noted East Surry JROTC Chief Wayne McCullough. “The weather was nice and cool, and we were able to see some team building with the support of family and friends in attendance. We saw progress and growth.”
“An example of that is our C team,” he continued. “We’ve seen them learn to trust their teammates and to be trusted to do their jobs. It’s amazing how they rise to that level.”
“The perception that’s had of today’s young people is often that they’re not motivated or energetic,” he continued. “But anyone believing that should look at today’s JROTC program. These kids enthusiastically put in a lot of hours and it shows.”
Cadet Commander Sergeant Major Erik Barron served as the overall Raider team captain and was pleased with the efforts of the three East Surry teams.
“I thought it went very well,” he said afterward. “Everybody gave their all and showed true heart. We were really motivated and able to bring each other up. It feels really good to have other teams come to our school and we’re able to show our true colors.”
“This year we’ve grown and I’m very pleased with our progress,” Barron continued. “We train together and spend a lot of time together. It feels like a family.”
East Surry C team co-captain Samy Chavez was also pleased with her team’s effort.
“We gave it our all and did the best we could,” she noted. “I couldn’t be prouder and we’re glad First Sergeant (Montgomery) takes the time to work with us and train us.”
“The success of this day,” McCullough said, “is a testament to the hard work of everyone who had a part, our volunteers, those who sponsored and contributed and, of course, the efforts of First Sergeant Ron Montgomery. It went well.”
The East Surry A team claimed the overall championship while the East Surry B team placed third.