Clinton High School’s JROTC is bringing out the bowties and ball gowns for its third annual JROTC military ball next week.
“We’re required to have a formal event every year,” said retired First Sgt. William Deaver, a JROTC instructor at Clinton High. “We’ve decided to hold a ball as our formal event every year.”
This year’s military ball, held on Friday, March 22 at the high school in the Lundy Fetterman Family Atrium, promises to be a grand event, with a formal dinner at 7 p.m. starting the festivities. “There will be a catered meal with grilled flank steak au poivre with rosemary and scallion compound butter, as well as, teriyaki crusted chicken with sweet & sour chile glaze,” noted retired Lt. Col. Glenn McNorial, senior instructor of Clinton High’s JROTC.
Following the dinner, there will be an awards presentation. “We’re looking forward to presenting awards to some of our distinguished students,” said Deaver.
The cadets will also be treated to some special entertainment as the 82nd Airborne Division Chorus from Fort Bragg, who performed at Clinton High’s military ball last year, returns to sing.
“We will also have a color guard ceremony where we will post and retire the colors,” noted Deaver.
A visit from a high profile guest is also scheduled. “Our guest speaker will be the current U.S. Army Assistant Deputy Chief of Staff, G4 (Operations), Maj. Gen. Janet L. Cobb,” informed McNorial, who believes Cobb’s visit “illustrates the commitment that our military leadership has in supporting the most treasured assets of our future — our young people. This is evident by having a current two star general take time away from her duties at the Pentagon to deliver a speech to our cadets.”
“I think having an active duty two star general come to speak at our ball is something really unique, especially since there is only a limited number of active generals and an even more limited number of females in that position, so we’re really looking forward to having her come,” McNorial added.
Of course, a ball would not be complete without a dance which will end the night for the cadets and their guests.
“Most think that the JROTC is only focused on the military aspect, but we also want to make sure to expose our cadets to formal social situations. The military ball provides a setting that will enhance their social development,” explained McNorial.
“This is a formal event and it is used as a practical exercise to put into practice those things that the cadets have learned about carrying themselves as young men and women in such a setting,” continued McNorial. “It reinforces the expectations that are placed on them as responsible young people.”
The military ball also helps hone the cadets’ leadership skills. “It’s a team building experience for the cadets because they are the ones who plan and execute the military ball,” said Deaver. “Myself and Col. McNorial only give guidance and pointers.”
“It helps them grow as they continue to learn how to develop healthy communication skills and relationships with their peers,” McNorial added.
As expected, Clinton High’s cadets are eagerly anticipating the upcoming ball. “It was very elegant last year and everything that I expected it to be,” said cadet Stephanie Mejias. “I think it will be even better this year.”
“I think it’s cool that we get to go to a formal event but it is with people we know so it is still a lot of fun,” added cadet Labria Aycock. “This year I’m looking forward to hanging out with my friends and seeing the new cadets’ reaction to the ball since it’s their first one.”
“My favorite thing last year was the recognition of the cadets and how they were treated,” reflected cadet Tyler Hilgert. “As we have the military ball again this year, I hope it’s something, a tradition, that I can see passed on from us to other cadets in the years to come.”
Lauren Williams can be reached at 910-592-8137, ext. 117 or via email at email@example.com.