Hopi JROTC cadets get on the move

The Hopi High JROTC Bruin Battalion showing what they do best at parades (Courtesy photo).

The Hopi High JROTC Bruin Battalion showing what they do best at parades (Courtesy photo).

The Hopi High cadets had a busy schedule during the third week of November. With their final swimming lesson, a morning rifle meet and marching in the Winslow Christmas Parade, their week was nothing but full.

On Thursday, Nov. 15, the Hopi JROTC cadets had their tenth and final swimming lesson. They departed from the Hopi Jr/Sr High School after tutoring and began their one-hour trip to Winslow. Upon arrival at the Winslow Public Swimming Pool, the cadets went into the changing room and quickly put on their swimming suits. The lesson for the day was to see how much they had learned.

Their swimming instructor Sergeant First Class (retired) Nance observed the cadets as they combined the arm and leg movements that he had taught them over the weeks. After their test of knowledge, it was free time.

The cadets that were scared and nervous on their first lesson were now swimming around and having fun with their peers. Nance was so proud, that he gave the cadets a pizza party afterwards for their hard work and dedication. After changing back into their clothes, the cadets made their way toward the double doors. They each took one last look at the pool, said their silent goodbyes and headed home.

The next day, Major (retired) Taylor was busy getting things ready for the marksmanship team's departure for the Dysart rifle meet.

The team attended their first and second hour classes and was released to eat lunch during third hour. After a quick lunch, the cadets went to the JROTC room to get ready for departure.

They waited for the bus to arrive and when it did, they grabbed their homework for the weekend and their bags and began to load up.

Eight cadets attended the event: Cadet Sergeant Angelo Dixon, Cadet Captain Raylene Dashner, Cadet Corporal Carrie Jones, Cadet Captain Samuel Acevedo, Cadet Private Malcolm Mowa, Cadet Private Dominique Halwood, Cadet 1st Lieutenant Tasha Labahe and Cadet Captain J'mal Lomakema.

When they finally made it to Surprise at 5:30 p.m., they were all a bit restless after the long drive. They went to their rooms and rested.

Saturday morning the cadets woke up and prepared for the rifle meet. They ate a speedy breakfast, loaded up the bus once again, and departed from the motel around 6:35 a.m.

They arrived at Dysart High School 20 minutes later and began to unload their equipment from the back of the bus. After setting up, the cadets began to get nervous.

They took deep breaths until it was time to start. They began with the prone position, then the standing position, and finally the kneeling position; each position took 20 minutes.

When the exercises were complete, they went outside to reload the bus.

Meanwhile, the Hopi Bruin Battalion was being picked up for the Winslow parade. When they arrived, they could see the many faces waiting for the parade to begin.

The Hopi High School JROTC cadets impatiently waited for three hours for Winslow's 61st Annual Christmas Parade to begin.

The week prior to the parade, the cadets prepared and practiced the many chants and movements that have made them known.

When the parade finally started, the color guard was first in the parade line-up.

They marched proudly through the streets of Winslow displaying the U.S., Arizona, Hopi Nation, Navajo Nation and Army flags.

Following the color guard team was Cadet of the Month Cadet Private First Class (PFC) Stacie Naha riding on the HUMV decorated by the Hopi JROTC.

This is Naha's second time being the Cadet of the Month. Accompanying her on the HUMV, were members of the National Guard support group and a special VIP guest, Carla Whiterock. Whiterock is the daughter of the respected army soldier Lori Piestewa. Following the HUMV was the float representing the JROTC program, which was built onto an Army PLS truck.

The float was artistically decorated by the cadets with white napkins on chicken wire and colorful posters the cadets had drawn themselves. The posters displayed various cartoon characters dressed in army uniforms, which went along with the theme of the parade, "A Cartoon Christmas." The Bruin Battalion marched behind the float shouting out chants, cheers and cadences laying testament to their motivation, dedication and appreciation for their program and school.

The spirit and energy that radiated from all of the inspiring cadets riled up the crowds with excitement. After the two-mile march the motivated cadets went to Pizza Hut to eat a well-deserved meal. Their hard work paid off when they took first place for Best Military March in Winslow's 61st Annual Christmas Parade.

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