By Mr. Michael Maddox (ROTC)June 28, 2018
WASHINGTON, D.C., (June 25, 2018) -- Junior Reserve Officers' Training Corps Cadets from across the country competed in battles of knowledge and skill on the campus of the Catholic University of America June 22-25 during the JROTC Leadership and Academic Bowl.
Out of the 1,600 JROTC academic teams that competed from around the world, 68 teams earned top scores to advance to the National JROTC Academic Bowl competition. There were 1,329 JROTC leadership teams that competed from around the world, of which only 40 earned top scores to advance to the National Leadership Bowl competition.
After all was said and done, the team from Fullerton Union High School, Fullerton, Calif., was named the winner of the academic competition with Atkins Academic and Technology High School, Winston-Salem, N.C., and McNair Academic High School, Jersey City, N.J., coming in second and third respectively. West Forsyth High School, Clemmons, N.C., took top honors in the leadership competition with Francis Lewis High School, Fresh Meadows, N.Y., and Gulf Coast High School from Naples, Fla. following second and third.
Joshua Miller, team captain for the Fullerton Union team, said it was an unexpected but wonderful surprise for his team to win the academic competition.
"Honestly, we thought we would make it to the quarter finals, but really didn't expect this. You can't even imagine -- it's insane -- that's the only word to describe it," he said.
Miller added, he felt there were several keys to his team's success.
"We studied individually for the several months leading up to this and here, we studied every night up until the wee hours of the morning," he said. "Plus, we're all so close, we're like siblings. We just think and work alike. We're like a family and that's how we get a lot of the things done that we do."
Besides being challenged with a weekend of mentally tough contests, Cadets also received advice from guest speakers Alex Trebek, host of the television gameshow Jeopardy! and Under Secretary of the Army Ryan D. McCarthy.
During the opening ceremony, Trebek shared anecdotes from his experience on the gameshow as well as provided some advice for the cadets in the audience.
"You are learning important lessons for life," he said. "You know about duty, honor, country, but most of you will not go into the military so I will pass along a point taught to me by my wife. Practice acceptance, not tolerance. We can tolerate people because they are different, we can tolerate people who have different backgrounds and different beliefs, but if you can forget about being the person tolerating them, you can instead reach out and accept them."
Trebek told the students he feels one key to being successful is putting your heart into everything you do.
"It doesn't matter in which profession you find yourself in life, make the most of it and give it your all," he shared. "You will never have to apologize for going all out, for being nice, for being a good person. You never have to say you're sorry for doing an act of kindness, or an act of love, and you guys are going to learn all about that because one of the elements that benefits you the most is the idea of teamwork -- you are there for each other."
During the award ceremony Monday night, McCarthy congratulated all of the Cadets in attendance for the achievements that led them to this year's competition.
"You're all outstanding leaders and scholar- you represent the top one percent of a 500,000 student organization -- our nation's JROTC. The Army is very proud of you and your accomplishments in academics, leadership and teamwork," he said. "You've worked very hard to get to this point as you've bested 45,000 cadets who competed. Continuing to focus on your education will give you the tools to succeed, and JROTC will help you learn to apply those tools as patriotic citizens with a sense of service and baseline of what it means to lead."
The JROTC Leadership & Academic Bowl (JLAB) is a nationally recognized academic competition created exclusively for JROTC students. By participating, cadets learn the values of citizenship, leadership, academic competition, and college opportunity.