MARIETTA, Ga. - The Naval Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (NJROTC) at Sprayberry High School competes in drill competitions against other programs. Recently, they placed second in a regional competition earning a selection to the National Competition in Pensacola, Florida. They are the only high school from Georgia to earn a spot in this particular competition.
The Sprayberry High School NJROTC program began under the leadership of LCDR Dennis Wonders and GYSGT Joe Ingram in 2009 and grows each year. Wonders says the program is not only about the military. He emphasizes that cadets learn teamwork, leadership and how to be good citizens. Ingram says motivation and determination drive his cadets, who are a diverse mix of students.
Former Sprayberry High School NJROTC Cadet, Lance Corporal Squire K. "Skip" Wells was killed along with four other Marines in the Chattanooga shootings in July of 2015. His memory is carried high on the shoulders of the cadets going to this competition.
"I'm convinced that his sacrifice was a big motivator for these cadets to put forth the effort they did this year" says Wonders.
The cadets head to the Navy National Academic, Athletic and Drill Competition next Thursday, March 31. The competition takes place April 1 and 2. They are still raising funds to pay for a charter bus and lodging. The school, local business leaders and some military organizations have pitched in. The program is still looking for more funds. There is information at the end of this article for those who wish to help.
Instructors say their goals are for cadets to finish high school and to help them earn scholarships when they can. The Cadet Commander, C/CDR Robert Young, earned the Georgia Military Scholarship through the Georgia National Guard and will attend North Georgia College in Dahlonega after he graduates Sprayberry.
Young says his time in the NJROTC Program has taught him the value of working with others and says, "The bond you develop between all of your friends and acquaintances in ROTC is a bond that you can't break."
Interested in Donating to the Sprayberry NJROTC to help with expenses to the competition? Visit their web site at sbnjrotc.org. Or, if you wish to write a check, you can make it out to Sprayberry Foundation with NJROTC in the memo line and get it to the school.