CALUMET - Although the Calumet High School Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps program had success competing on the regional level in the past, this week the team kicked their effort up a notch and won the national competition.
Maj. Michael Farley, senior army instructor of the Junior ROTC program for Calumet and Lake Linden-Hubbell high schools, said 1,735 teams from around the world competed regionally to be able to attend the JROTC Leadership and Academic Bowl, which is a competition for JROTC programs around the world involving academic and leadership components. The national competition took place Friday through Monday in Washington, D. C., where only 40 teams competed.
"When the dust settled, Calumet JROTC (leadership team) was the champion," Farley said.
There are six members on the leadership team, Farley said, but only four were allowed to compete in Washington, D.C.
Farley said the Calumet JROTC has an academic team, also, but although that team finished third in the regional competition, it didn't compete in Washington, D.C.
The academic team was in the top 10 percent, or top 70 schools in the country, which Farley said puts it in the elite level.
The leadership competition is evaluated on several levels, which Farley said are: 10 percent for the final score of preliminary competitions; 30 percent the final exam in Washington, D.C.; 15 percent from an exam about the lives and leadership principles of Gen. George Marshall and Gen. Douglas MacArthur; 25 percent for an independent leadership exam of the team during the competition; and 20 percent for homework assignments.
Besides taking part in the competition, Farley said the cadets had a chance to tour the monuments and other sites in Washington, D.C., during which they took part in another competition, which was just for fun. Teams would consider clues at one site, which when correctly figured out would send them to the next site.
Farley said the trip to Washington, D.C., would not have been possible without the assistance of Calumet High School Principal George Twardzik and Public Schools of Calumet, Laurium & Keweenaw Superintendent Darryl Pierce, and the sponsorship of Calumet Elks, VFW Post 3900 and American Legion Post 61.
Farley said the academic team is going to work to be as successful as the leadership team in future competitions.
"We intend to pursue the academic championship vigorously," he said.
Because of the quality of the teams in the leadership competition, Farley said he's especially impressed with how the Calumet team finished.
"To work hard and achieve that level is very rewarding," he said. "This is the culmination of 10 months of very hard work."