Five Franklin High School cadets complete JROTC summer camp

Published 8:23 am Wednesday, July 28, 2010

NEWPORT NEWS—Five cadets from the newly formed National Defense Cadet Corps at Franklin High School completed the JROTC Cadet Leadership Challenge at Fort Eustis.

The one-week camp ended on July 21 and was attended by nearly 300 cadets from 30 high schools, mostly from the Tidewater and Richmond areas.

The Franklin City Public School system provided transportation for the cadets to and from camp. The cadets attended camp under the supervision of Senior Military Instructor LTC Ben L. Hudson, who is retired from the U.S. Army.

The camp is designed to give cadets challenging, meaningful and hands-on-training in a military environment for developing good citizenship, leadership and patriotism. The program places cadets in the direct path of summer camp cadre, who provide teaching, coaching, mentoring and counseling to cadets.

To assist in polishing leader skills and building self-efficacy, cadets had to complete an obstacle and confidence course, land navigation and more.

Cadet Ciara Banks said the camp was a lot of fun, and it helped her to better control her temper and sometimes uncontrollable outbursts. Banks also said intermingling with cadets from other schools was very interesting. Making the adjustment to the isolated training site was not a problem.

In preparation for the camp, surrounding schools and cadet command furnished about 95 percent of the required camp uniforms and equipment. Each cadet was issued three army combat uniforms and pistol belt with field water canteens.

Probably the greatest personal growth was realized by cadets Bethany Pollard and Shanikqua McNear.

Pollard, who will be a senior, said she expressed quite a desire to go home, but to her credit, she was really glad to have completed the camp.

McNear said she had to find inner strength and personal courage to finish some of the tasks.

Both felt the camp was a very educational and rewarding experience.

In keeping with good military decorum, shortly after his arrival to the camp, cadet Deshaun Artis got his first introduction to a “crusty” retired first sergeant when he was told in no uncertain terms to get rid of the “peach fuzz” under his chin. Artis’ experience and the experiences of others helped to build his self-control and self-confidence, molding him into a better person and citizen.

Cadet Courtney Helms said her camp experience was a lot of hard work, but it was worth it. She said mental and physical toughness within the Franklin High School program will help the cadets at camp.

Helms noted that she learned about positive community service activities that she would like local cadets to sponsor in the Franklin area.

The day before the camp closing ceremony, JCLC sponsored a picnic for cadets, friends and family. Franklin High School Principal Lawrence Whiting and the parents and friends of McNear and Artis attended the picnic. The picnic ended with a dance.

Franklin High School cadets Katisha Bynum and Carlicea Mitchell were released from the camp early due to minor medical issues. Both will be considered to attend the camp next year.

Hudson indicated that he felt it was important to bring Franklin High School cadets to camp in the JROTC’s inaugural year. This type of training and experience is crucial to growing the new JROTC program at Franklin High.

The cadets attending camp were carefully selected and are expected to hold key leadership positions in the Bronco Cadet Battalion at Franklin High School.