While many teenagers stayed home this summer, six students from La Vega High School Navy Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (NJROTC) took part in U.S. Navy/Marine Corps summer leadership camps.
NJROTC is a grade 9-12 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 in Fort Worth June 9-14.
The leadership academy is an advanced team-building and mentoring program for junior and senior high school students that prepares them for greater responsibilities their respective units.
Cadets from 10 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 Silver Leadership Cord. It 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 in Waco, Commander Alton Leuschner, Senior Vice Commander Miguel Valverde and post members George Weaver and Ray Moseley.
Post 2148 sponsored all six cadets. Post members also awarded American flags to each graduating La Vega cadet at both camps.
A second camp was held the following week, June 17-21, for freshman and sophomore cadets at the same location.
Basic Leadership Training or “BLT“ cadets experienced training under the eyes 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 U.S. 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 explored with an emphasis on officer programs and scholarship application and academic preparation skills. Cadets earned the Basic Leadership Training completion ribbon from NJROTC.
Many area cadets will continue in careers in the military through scholarship programs of the Navy Reserve Officer Training Corps (NROTC) and other officer accession programs.