Ozark’s JROTC has accomplished something that is unprecedented in JROTC competitions: they have six special teams nationally ranked at the same time.
The armed drill team is ranked 2nd; open color guard drill team is ranked 5th; air rifle precision team is ranked 7th; the unarmed drill team and air rifle sporter team are ranked 9th; and the raider team male division is ranked 13th.
“When we walk into the school, you can hear, ‘Oh my gosh, that’s Ozark,’ because of our reputation,” senior JROTC cadet Mackenzie Wilson, unarmed drill regulation commander said in a release.
The Ozark JROTC is ranked against 1,709 JROTC and 3,300 color guard programs in the United States. Officials say that there are a “handful” of schools with teams in the same general activities or have teams ranked in two different activities, but only Ozark has six teams nationally ranked in different categories.
The special teams involve about half the 170 students from 9th through 12th grade that participate in Ozark JROTC programs. The teams engage in about 200 hours of extra practice each year for competitions that sometimes last only 15 minutes. All of the special teams are lead by student cadets.
“We plan and execute all of our events,” senior cadet Trey Vaught said. “The instructors are facilitators, they’re not the ones making the plans and executing them. It allows us to become better leaders, and it allows us to be more successful in the future.”
The adult leaders of the JROTC credit support from parents and the community for allowing them to help the cadets pursue excellence.
“The parents and this community are phenomenal, and we have phenomenal support from the school district,” 1st Sergeant William Crawford said in a statement. “Because of that, we’re able to continue to strive for this excellence. Our goal and mission is ultimately to make sure students become better citizens.”