Saipan Southern High School’s JROTC JLAB Leadership Team competed at the 2022 Army Leadership Bowl National Championships in Washington, D.C. on June 19-22, and placed in the Top 9, besting over 40 other schools.
The team also received the Col. Carlos R. Glover “Mega Hooah” Esprit de Corps Award, which means the JLAB cadets have already received this award twice—at the first ever JLAB Leadership award and this time at the fifth—giving them two Esprit de Corps awards already. The Esprit de Corps is an award given to the team that shows a huge effort in teamwork, a great showcase of spirit, and positivity within their team and the people around them.
The JROTC award winning cadets are cadet Maj. Mechaella de Ramos, cadet Capt. Danielle Formalejo, cadet 1SG John Lloyd Tuquero, and cadet MSG Matz Catinding.
The JLAB team also won first place in the H.O.T (High Order Thinking) Leadership category topic. They succeeded at being at 1% of all JLAB Leadership teams competing against them on championship day, June 20, 2022, which took place in the campus of the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C.
“[It was a] once-in-a-lifetime experience that you shouldn’t miss out on. I am really surprised that we got Top 10 but we deserve it after more than nine months of studying,” said Catinding.
The cadets have been preparing for months before they took off for the championships and are all pleased about not just placing Top 10 out of 40 schools but also managing to win the Esprit de Corps Award once again.
When asked what was the hardest part of the competition, Tuquero said, “Getting into the mindset of winning was hard.”
Although the team may have had their doubts throughout the competition, they were confident enough to be able to enter the Top 10. As challenging the past few months of countless hours of studying, hard work, and time management had been, and all the obstacles they went through throughout their preparation, they were able to overcome their struggles by being winners once more.
CSM (Ret.) Richard Basa, the Manta Ray Battalion’s Senior Army instructor, said the Saipan Southern High School JLAB Leadership Team performed superbly and he thanked Mark Pratt and Antoine Hanes from the 8th Brigade Headquarters, and Emily Donahue from the College Options Foundation for their support, as well as Delegate Gregorio Kilili Sablan and his staff for the tour of the U.S. Capitol.
Basa also acknowledged the support of the SSHS administrators—SSHS principal Vince Dela Cruz, vice principal Arisa Sakai-Peters, and Mona Maratita— as the team prepared for the competition. Basa also thanked Education Commissioner Dr. Alfred Ada, and associate commissioners Eric Magofna and Yvonne Pangelinan.
He also thanked the team’s local fans from the Washington, D.C. area, Mary Ann Cabrera Sablan, and her son, Luke, and Nicole Sablan for their support as well. The JLAB Team also thanked their sponsor, Mel Mendiola, CWM Travel for providing their JLAB Team T-shirts for the competition.
Basa also extended his appreciation to the cadets, their parents, and the team’s chaperon, Genelin Camacho, for their continuous support throughout the trip. (PR)