The JROTC (Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps) is the Department of Defense’s largest youth development program offered throughout high schools in the United States. Led by retired veterans, the program is designed to instill wholesome values, build moral character, and impart effective leadership qualities in today’s youth.

The local JROTC of North Brunswick High School, led by Colonel (R) Steven A. Baker, is deserving of mention for their hard work and outstanding effort in moving to the next round of competition in this year’s Leadership Bowl. Four female cadets are currently preparing for the 2018 U.S. Army JROTC Leadership and Academic Bowl Championship that will be held June 22nd through 26th at The Catholic University of America in Washington, DC.

This championship is a nationally recognized competition created for cadets to help them learn the value of citizenship, leadership development, and educational preparedness.  It allows them to demonstrate their leadership abilities in tandem with their academic abilities.

For Veronda Blue, Michelle Simmons, Katherine Kelly, and Brianna Hitch, it is a great honor to represent North Brunswick High School by advancing to the next level of competition. After competing against 1,329 other JROTC teams from around the world, including places like Japan and Germany, these young women earned scores high enough to become one in 40 Army JROTC teams in the nation to continue onto the Leadership Bowl in Washington DC. These four ladies skillfully endured two lightning rounds of questioning where they were quizzed on their knowledge of current events, leadership values, and leadership skills.

This show of excellence has awarded these cadets an all-expense paid trip to our nation’s capital to further test their leadership prowess in a championship sponsored by the US Army Cadet Command and JROTC Headquarters. Suffice it to say, these North Brunswick High School students are proving their tenacity and perseverance.

“I am proud that for the second time in three years, we are going to D.C. to participate in the JROTC Leadership and Academic Championship,” says Colonel Baker. “Two years ago, North Brunswick High School’s JROTC won the right to compete in the Academic competition and this year, we won the right to compete against 40 other teams in the Leadership Competition.”

Brianna Hitch, who competed with the same team in last year’s competition feels more prepared this year. She radiates confidence in herself and her teammates. “We know each other, and we know each other’s strengths and weaknesses which we use to our advantage when answering questions,” she explains.

The team is eagerly preparing for the upcoming competition in DC and is thrilled to have another opportunity to compete together. “I was happy to be on the team, doing it again,” says Katherine Kelly. “I feel like we will do well, we all want to go together.”

These young ladies are filled with determination and are appreciative of the support and guidance they’ve received from the local JROTC leadership. “This year’s all-female team is dedicated and I am sure they will represent our school, community, and state in an outstanding fashion,” says Colonel Baker. “Most importantly, I think they will learn a lot and have a great time with other students from around the country, and the world.  The National Mall is a great backdrop for learning about history and this trip will be a first to our capital for most of our girls.”