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HCPS teams set to compete in JROTC Leadership and Academic Bowl in Washington D.C.

Local JROTC Teams Advance to National Competition

June 08, 2017 - Points of Pride

During the preliminary rounds, Alonso High School (AHS) all-junior team members were tested on their knowledge of JROTC curriculum, english, math and science. One of the main goals of the JROTC Academic Bowl is to prepare students for state exit/graduation exams, as well as college entrance exams, such as the SAT and ACT.  Major Charles Organ, the JROTC Senior Army Instructor at Alonso, pointed out that “only 27 teams out of over 1700 advanced to Level III and will travel to Washington D.C.  Our team was formed last Fall, and they practiced at lunch and after school before taking the online exam that qualified them for the final round.”  Members of Alonso’s team include Alec Dybiec, Justin Palumbo, Nathaniel Fernandez, Jack Ratcliff (alternate team member), and team captain Teaghen McCarthy.  Teaghen was recently named the 2017 Cadet of the Year for Hillsborough County Public Schools.

Hillsborough High School (HHS) earned 1st place in the 6th Brigade pre-qualification Leadership rounds, and according to Lt. Col. Eric Deal, Senior Army Instructor at HHS, “Much like the Academic Teams, our Leadership Team competed against all other Army JROTC Programs from across the country in two different levels of online competition. Levels I and II, for example, had required readings on General Marshall, General MacArthur, and General Powell.  They also had several projects that have to be completed prior to arriving, such as a lesson on Citizen Soldiers, a report on selfless service, and a service learning project.”  All four cadets on the HHS team are juniors and they were selected for the competition because they each hold a Company leadership position within their class.  Team members are Mariana Alvarez (Company Executive Officer), Ariona Hall (Company Commander), Miguel Gonzalez (Company Commander), and Leah Johnson (Company Commander). 

The winner of the U.S. Army JROTC Academic Championship will compete against winners of the U.S. Air Force, Marine Corps and Navy JROTC Academic Bowls in the JROTC Joint Service Academic Bowl Championship held in Washington D.C. in June.  Hillsborough and Alonso’s teams will be in D.C. from June 23rd through the 27th.

According to organizers of the event, cadets learn the values of citizenship, academic competition, and college opportunity through their participation. The competition creates tremendous opportunities for JROTC cadets by allowing them to demonstrate leadership and academic abilities.  In addition, the benefits of participating include improved SAT/ACT scores, increased interest in college admissions, increased leadership skills, hands-on and interactive learning, and relating leadership skills to the historic monuments and memorials they visit when they advance to the final round in Washington, DC.

The event is sponsored by the U.S. Army Cadet Command, JROTC Headquarters and is conducted by College Options Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to enriching the academic development of high school students and assisting them with their preparation for higher education.  For more information about the JROTC Academic Championship, visit To find out more about JROTC programs in Hillsborough County Public Schools, contact Col. Samuel Taylor, JROTC District Resource Teacher/Director of Army Instruction, at 813-744-8900 or email him at

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