back (L toR) Jason Caldwell, Noah Baker, Andrew Pannell, Ryker Belew, Dakota Clapp, Neil Benson, Alex Medley, Greyson Baker, Stella Mapes
Front (L to R): Anthea Hankins, Derek Trejo, Devanna Faulkner, Zoe Kelley, Donovan Soto, Chloe Ellegood, Jamoe Lemay and Jenifer Webb.
On February 26, the Graves County High School JROTC won first place in The All-Service Raider National Competition Co-Ed Division in Molena, GA. This national competition involves students from not only Army JROTC programs, but other service divisions, as well, such as Navy, Air Force, and Marines. The team was led by Lt. Jason Caldwell.
Lt. Caldwell explained the significance of this win for the program. “We went to nationals for the first time in Nov 2019 where we finished 5th and felt like that was a major accomplishment,” he said. “In general these kids started preparing as freshmen, learning more about raiders and how to improve and hopefully make the team.” He added that due to COVID-19, most normal Raider competitions were cancelled this year, so the students took it upon themselves to practice in the summer months and make sure they were ready for nationals.
Caldwell also shared the kinds of activities required of cadets in the competition. He said events include activities such as a 5k in combat boots over rough terrain, climbing 8-foot walls, and crawling through culverts, just to name a few of the challenges. After the team’s participation in 2019, Caldwell said he knew they’d improved on their event times as the competition continued. “After we finished we had no idea how the other 12 teams did but I was optimistic because I knew we had improved and [made] little to no mistakes throughout the day,” added Caldwell.
He also shared that he was very proud considering our team beat students from some military prep schools. “These are programs that have thousands of students and a platoon of cadre to train them!” Caldwell stated. He added, “these schools arrived on Chartered buses after spending the night in motels but they didn't stand a chance against these determined Graves County Eagles!”
On behalf of the Graves County School District, congratulations on this most prestigious and well-deserved achievement! GCSD is proud of you and your dedication!