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High school JROTC program garners national attention | News

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High school JROTC program garners national attention
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(WBIR - Fentress County) Students from Clarkrange High School are bringing their team to the top of the nation. The JROTC Raiders Team gives a different look to school athletics.

The Clarkrange Raiders Team has always been a dream for First Sergeant Gil Sandoval.

"Since I came into ROTC I saw that as a program and thought it would be neat to have them run through the woods and swim streams and climb ropes and low crawl through the mud. And kids love being outdoors and doing things like that," said Sandoval.

From the monkey bars to building a rope bridge in under two minutes, Sandoval said they are all competitors. They compete on a national level; this year, taking home 84 trophies, placing sixth overall, and losing the rope bridge competition by only half of a second. All that success has come three-and-a-half years after the team was created.

"I wanted it to be this successful," said Sandoval, "but did I expect it to be this quick? No I didn't expect it to be this quick."

It's military training for any student who wants to join. No matter their future plans.

"My next step is the army, but I do plan on going to college after the military," said senior Devin Michalski.

Some of these students say this has changed their lives.

"It can prepare us for life outside of high school," said senior Anthony Arbziejewski.

The girls have also become a threat on the national stage. Some schools, the girls say, won't come if they hear the Clarkrange team will be there.

"Most of them we end up beating because we were told we practice the hardest," said student Daneisha Cottle.

They also said the time they spend together as a team has grown into friendships away from competition as well, a family of sorts.

Training will continue -- with more fitness and real world lessons to come as well.

"They are seeing all these places and it's neat because they are expanding their horizons," said Sandoval. Their world is expanding. And it is neat how endless the things that they can do now."

Sandoval's dream will continue to thrive in Fentress County. The team is sponsored by families and businesses throughout the community, and trophies await those who help give this JROTC team opportunities.

You can find out more information about this team on their Facebook and YouTube pages.


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