The Best of the Best


Madison Gilbert , Editor in Chief

Upon being asked, any NJROTC cadet would have told you that the program was consuming. It took hundreds of hours to perfect routines, shine shoes until they sparkled, and arrange uniform medals in meticulous rows like badges of honor. Dedication, discipline, and passion were a must. But above all, being an NJROTC cadet required resilience. “It takes a lot of personal drive and motivation to be able to work so hard, but with such a great team beside you, it’s easy to find that motivation. It definitely is a lot of work from every individual for the unit to truly be the best of the best,” Madelyn Meggs, 10, said. After many months of daily practices, early mornings, and uniform inspections, the resilience of the program shined, and the cadets had made it to Navy Nationals. Being selected for Nationals was a feat in itself; out of 613 schools across the nation, only 24 were given the honor of being selected to compete. “The moment we knew we were going to nationals was the moment we realized that it was time to grind. We knew the next month was going to be huge, and we had to get into the nationals mindset right then and there,” Sean McCallister, 12, said.For many of the cadets, the 2020-21 Navy Nationals was the pinnacle of their NJROTC career. Because of COVID-19 restrictions, the competition was held virtually, and each event was recorded and submitted for judging. After a challenging series of competitions in push ups, drills, colorguard, and more, the unit ranked highly across the board with 1st in Academics and 1st in Armed Basic Drill being listed among the ranks of their impressive scores. “The moment we won overall was a moment of sheer joy. It was really a surreal moment; all of the hard work from the past had paid off. I’ve never felt so much energy in one room,” McCallister said.  Although the program qualified for nationals the previous three years, this competition was one like no other. This was the competition where they won, emerging victorious among 612 other schools as the best NJROTC unit in the country.