The Waukegan High School’s JROTC Drill Team placed first in many competitions thanks to their hard work. But then the team had to prepare to face their biggest challenge yet, the 2012 Drill Team Nationals in Daytona Beach, Florida, April 29 through May 4, 2012. The cost to go to this competition was about $20,000 for the bus, hotel, food and other neccessities. It took a lot of hard work raising the money to go. For instance the drill team did concession stands, sold discount cards, hosted a spaghetti benefit, tag events, and even hosted their own Drill Competition at the Washington Campus. They worked non-stop to raise the money to compete. With little time left, the team practices got more intense, but the sharpness got better.
The team had to prepare to compete in multiple events, such as: Exhibition, Color Guard, Platoon drill, and Inspection. When the day came that it was time to get on the bus and head to Florida, many of us were anxious. As soon as the team arrived at the hotel, the team unpacked and went straight to work. Each morning they would wake up for physical training at 4-5 in the morning and then continue practicing throughout the day. The night before competition, all the drill team members prepared their uniforms so that they would look in tip-top shape, from their medals to their red berets.
The morning of competition arrived and everyone was ready to hit the floor. Teams from all over the nation gathered to compete for the title. Before every event the coach, First Sergeant Cunningham, lead the team in prayer.
Later it was evident that all the practicing and hard work had paid off. The drill team gave their all in each event. Soon enough the awards ceremony started, and the Waukegan High School Drill Team was awarded 4th in the nation for their excellent exhibition performance! They also received top 5 for Inspection, which is one of the hardest events. Not only that, during the knockout portion of the day, Renee Figueroa, one of the drill team members, placed 2nd in the nation out of literally hundreds of cadets. It had been years since the WHS team placed at Nationals. This was truly the most memorable year for the team.
Great Job Drill Team!!! ONE TEAM, ONE STOMP!!!
Photo: Emily Morales