The Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps Program Leadership and Academic Bowl Team from Ida Baker High School recently captured second place out of 1,300 teams from across the U.S.
The National Competition was held in Washington, D.C.
The Ida Baker High team members are Mark Quinn, Sean Naughton, Ken Hernandez and Abby Kingery.
"It was awesome, they did an awesome job," said Team Coach Maj. Gordon Rodell, the Senior Army Instructor at Ida Baker's JROTC Program.
The purpose of this event, he said, was to spotlight the academic and leadership skills of JROTC cadets.
The team had to first qualify for the national competition teams in two online rounds held in October and February. In the first, approximately 1,400 schools from all 50 states and Department of Defense schools overseas were tested on all aspects of the JROTC curriculum and 700 advanced to round two. In the second, the top 40 scoring schools advanced to the national finals in Washington.
While there, the students were busy.
They were required to produce a video, a PowerPoint presentation and interview World War II veterans they met at the memorial in D.C. The Ida Baker JROTC Cadets' group video was judged to be the best in the competition.
"For the video, they had to read a book on MacArthur," Maj. Rodell said. They were the "MacArthur Group", named after General of the Army Douglas MacArthur. "In the book it talked about his principles of leadership. They had to take those, and apply them to the video. They also had to apply what they saw at the World War II Monument they saw in Washington."
For the PowerPoint presentation, he said the cadets used Prezi. "From what I understand that is the most modern version of PowerPoint - you can do a lot more things. They took pictures they had taken of veterans, and their sayings, and matched those up with MacArthur's principles as well."
They had to do this all in four days.
"They were busy," he said.
They also got to have some sightseeing fun.
"They went down on a Monday after the weekend. Monday they did a game called the DC Challenge. It is like the Amazing Race; they would go a monument and find clues. For example, at the Vietnam Memorial they had to find someone with their last name and make a rubbing of it with a pencil. Then after they did that, they got a clue of the next monument to go to, and solve that."
He said they had a great time.
"They went to all the monuments on the Mall, including the new Martin Luther King Jr., which just opened, along with the Jefferson, Lincoln, WWII and Korean War Memorial. Then they got a clue to where they went next. That was their sightseeing tour. They said they had more fun doing that."
The cadet teams were evaluated by their group facilitators on how well they worked as team members to produce their deliverable and their deliverables were graded on how well they met their objectives.
"I am getting ready to start my 14th year with JROTC, my fourth at Ida Baker."
Leading this team was one of his greatest achievements, he said, of that career.