JROTC seniors pass the cords to the underclassmen


Savannah Brown

At the JROTC awards, Sergeant Major Sanders announced her retirement. JROTC cadets have won many competitions under her leadership.

Blackman’s JROTC program has been making history with its determination and work ethic.   

There are three teams: Raider, Rifle, and Drill. In each team, the competitors broke records. All three of these teams earned first place in the district, leading the Raider and Rifle teams to nationals. Additionally, the JV Rifle Team placed second.  

“We like to call it the Holy Trinity,” said Carlos Cifuentes, senior. 

Adriana Lopez, senior, is the battalion executive officer. She is second-in-command of the program, meaning she is in charge of the cadets and all the operations. 

“The female Raider team winning first in the district was the first time it has happened in Blackman history and the first time the girls have won in general. To win three out of the four [competitions] and get district was super awesome,” stated Lopez. 

Cifuentes is the battalion cadet sergeant major, third-in-command. His job is to support all the battalions. He is always checking up on and accompanying the leaders of the classes. One example is when Cifuentes advises the battalion commander on all matters pertaining to that team. 

For drill team, coming in first place, in general, was an accomplishment. Ever since I started drill team as a freshman, we have never seen first place, – we have barely seen second place – and it was rare that we saw third,” said Cifuentes. 

Blackman won against LaVergne, the main competitor. 

“Coming out on top really was relieving,” stated Cifuentes. 

The next season of JROTC is going to look a little bit different. 

“Girls are losing six out of eight starting seniors, so we have two left, and that’s going to be a big challenge for next year,” said Lopez.  

Even though the season was a success, there were some bumps along the journey. 

“We faced some disciplinary issues among the newer class,” stated Lopez. 

The leaders of each team stepped up and had to show the positive impact of hard work and motivation in a team. For instance, when a newer teammate was causing disruptions, they had the upperclassmen set an example of what the right mindset could do.  

“As leaders, we can motivate all we want, but if they don’t have the right mindset, I don’t think they can achieve that much,” said Cifuentes. 

Each of the teams will be restructuring leadership next year because they are losing many seniors. 

“The majority of the seniors did help teach those kids, and most of them are leaving. Most of the teams are first year’s and the other half are second year’s, so there’s not that many [who are] experienced. I think with the right motivation and determination, they can do it, but it just sucks that a lot of that knowledge is going away,” stated Cifuentes. 

Even leadership roles are uncertain next year. 

“Drill team’s captain is pretty much up in the air next year,” said Lopez. 

Sergeant Major Barbara Sanders, JROTC instructor, released the news that she will be retiring at the end of this year. 

“I have enjoyed seeing [students] grow mentally, emotionally, and physically. I am excited to see the decisions they have made and where they are going to go from high school. I feel like our program is the best it has ever been, so I am very confident in leaving it just the way it is. I am proud of the cadets that are coming up through the ranks; they have had a great opportunity seeing the upperclassmen and what they have done to improve our program. I know they will continue to carry it on,” stated Sanders. 

JROTC’s season concluded with many highlights to be proud of, and there is a lot of hope for the future season with all the knowledge Seargent Major Sanders and the seniors are leaving behind.