Drill Down is an event at which all the companies of the Waukegan High School JROTC compete to determine which is the best at marching and drills. Another key event at Drill Down is the goodbye ceremony for seniors who are leaving the program.
Early on the morning of April 11, 2012, cadets met at the Washington Campus to run through the event. Once there, companies Alpha, Bravo, Charlie, Delta, Echo, Foxtrot, Golf, and Hotel practiced placement so there would be no confusion later at the actual event. Everything had to be rehearsed in the morning before the actual event.
The event began at 6:30 pm in the gymnasium at Washington Campus. Parents of cadets, WHS students, and past cadets watched proudly as the Bulldog Regiment stood before them. It was an emotional event for the parents of senior cadets because it was their students’ last Drill Down. The goodbye ceremony included a slideshow with pictures of all the senior cadets as babies and as young adults. At the end of the slideshow, Cadet Colonel Michael Hernandez saluted, with great pride, all the senior cadets and gave his parents a special “thanks” for helping him get to where he is now.
Golf Company took two prizes: one for Best Squad and one for Best Platoon. Cadet Staff Sergeant Hwangchan Yu marched his squad. “I was very surprised and excited about winning. My squad and I practiced very hard and I was just glad that all of the practice paid off,” he said. Hwangchan didn’t think about whether he was going to win or not, he just felt confident. He continued, “even if I didn’t win, I would’ve still liked the experience.” While Hwangchan says Drill Down was “nerve-wracking,” he liked the turnout of parents and friends that came to watch the cadets.”
Second Lieutenant Nalleli Brennan was in charge of the squad. She asserted, “Winning platoon feels incredible. It makes me feel even more proud of all my company’s hard work and dedication. Honestly, I didn’t even know I was going to win. My company kept telling me how good we did once we got back up on the bleachers, and after that all we could do was wait.” She then commented, “All of my cadets were the reason we won Platoon Drill. I can easily call commands for everybody, but it was my cadets that executed and perfected everything.”
To Hwangchan and Nalleli, Drill Down has a special meaning. To Nalleli, Drill Down means “showing everybody what your company has achieved and accomplished over the last school year. It really shows how much we’ve all come together as a family and how hard we’ve worked.” To Hwangchan, it shows “how good the cadets at WHS are and fully exhibits that. We have the best cadets and we are just showcasing everything on the day for Drill Down.”
The winning company was Charlie. Their company commander, Silvia Ramirez, gladly accepted the award with pride.
– Selina Zarate, a Brookside sophomore