The Rita Hocog Inos Jr. Sr. High School bagged first place in the first ever Public School System middle school Leadership Corps Drill Competition last Saturday at Hopwood Middle School.
As adjudged by schools JROTCs from Kagman High School, Saipan Southern High School, and Marianas High School, RHS was the only school that did not call cadence. Marching cadence is the chant made by the student commander and is most recognized as the “left, left, left right left” chant.
Despite being the only school to not call cadence, RHS was able to maintain a uniform pace accompanied by straight lines and relatively uniform arm swing, some of the biggest contributors to their victory.
RHS bested Hopwood Middle School, Dandan Middle School, Tanapag Middle School, Francisco M. Sablan Middle School, and Tinian Jr. Sr. High School.
According to student commander Jesse Seman Jr., what gave them their victory was “hard work, push-ups and running; every time we go to practice, we treat it as the real thing.”
Herman Atalig, a member of the Board of Education and a former sergeant major and instructor of the RHS JROTC, was impressed by the show of discipline of all of the schools.
“This is a great program to continue. I really commend the principal, the commissioner, and the associate commissioner [Yvonne Pangelinan] for continuing this program to instill discipline and for the services these children are providing at such a young age,” he said.
“I hope one day they would be one of our future leaders because that is what this program is all about,” he added.
Pangelinan, who is responsible for the oversight of the program, said the competition was a good opportunity to give middle school students the opportunity to exhibit what they have learned from JROTC program.
“We can definitely see the units that have been receiving mentorship by their JROTC counterparts. It’s a learning experience and hopefully next year we can get a stronger partnership with the JROTC,” said Pangelinan.
One of several instructors of the middle school Leadership Corps, Jeffrey Bacani, thought the competition was “rough at the edges” but as the competition continues to gain momentum through the years, improvements would definitely come out.
“This is the first time we’ve ever done this. So far so good, but there is always room for improvement. I am very proud of all of our cadets and hopefully next year would be better and hopefully there would be more participants,” he said.