The Richmond Hill High School JROTC has earned the right to compete at the state competition for its drill team and color guard.
They placed high in nearly every category during the region meet in Hinesville to mark the highest showing yet for RHHS.
Senior Justin Humrich, who leads the color guard, said this is a huge victory for the program – a program that missed the mark last year by a mere five points.
"We’ve been aiming for state all year," Humrich said. "After not quite making it last year, I’ve had the taste in my mouth for it all year."
This is only the second year that Richmond Hill has had a drill team. Senior Sophia Navedo, who leads the drill team as well as the overall program, introduced the squad to drill last year.
The RHHS drill team made it to state last year also, and Navedo said they are making quite a name for themselves.
Humrich said excelling in these competitions is one more reinforcement for him in his belief that JROTC is a life-enhancing program.
"I came into JROTC as a shy little freshman. Now, when Sophia is not here, I can easily lead this whole squad. That’s how much this program has helped me with my confidence and my leadership abilities."
Navedo said, within a short time, she has witnessed the program become a very strong course. The Bryan County school system has only had a JROTC program for four years now.
"Already, Richmond Hill has built a name – whether it’s Raiders or drill team or color guard – people know about us. I’m happy that I’ve been able to play a part in it," Navedo said.
Major Jeffrey Odegaard, who instructs the program along with Sgt. Major Leroy Bradley, said he is very proud of the squads for making it to state and that they got to this point because of the large amount of extracurricular participation.
"We’ve got about a third of the program that are involved in color guard and drill team," he said. "They stay here every night until five o’clock practicing. I’m real impressed with their dedication, and they deserve every accolade that comes their way."
The state competition takes place March 22 at Fort Gordon in Augusta.