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Fledgling junior ROTC drill team tapped to compete in nationals

ALBANY, N.Y. (Feb. 22, 2017) -- Members of Albany High School’s Sgt. Henry Johnson Battalion junior ROTC drill team will head to Louisville, Ky., at the end of March to compete in the official Army Junior ROTC drill championships.


Despite being the new kid on the block – it formed last September – Albany’s team won or placed in the top three in recent regional drill competitions.


Drill team members practice at school Monday-Friday from 7-7:45 a.m. All that early morning work clearly is paying off. Their outstanding performance prompted another drill team to nominate them to compete in Louisville.


“It’s unbelievable and unheard of that a JROTC gets nominated their first year to attend nationals,” said retired 1st Sgt. Dennis Palow, a junior ROTC instructor and drill team adviser.


The drill team will compete in four events in Kentucky: unarmed color guard, unarmed dual exhibition, unarmed inspection and unarmed cadet regulation.


Cadet Sgt. Maj. Emmanuel Tay, a junior, is drill team captain. (Tay is pictured at right.) He also is captain of the unarmed color guard team.


Battalion Cmdr. Matthew Pickett, a senior, is captain of the unarmed dual exhibition team. Cadet Maj. Chantel Clark, also a senior, is captain of the unarmed inspection team. Cadet 1st Sgt. Khalel Hamlin, a junior, is captain of the unarmed cadet regulation team.  


Their cadet drill teammates include:

  • Pvt. Keshawn Bacchus, sophomore
  • Pvt. Keila Balbuena Garcia, freshman
  • Pvt. Angelina Bolio, freshman
  • Sgt. Malachi Brooks, sophomore
  • Pvt. Rogina Cousley, sophomore
  • Pvt. Edanny Cruz, sophomore
  • Pvt. Damian Figueroa-Lopez, sophomore
  • 1st Sgt. Josue Ortiz, junior
  • Pfc. Jahsharee Scott, sophomore
  • Master Sgt. Andre Solomon, junior


Junior ROTC is a citizenship and leadership training program offered in to students in high schools throughout the country.  Albany High School’s junior ROTC is named in honor of Sgt. Henry Johnson, an Albany resident who fought in the first African-American unit of the U.S. Army to engage in combat in World War I.


The competition will be held April 1. For more information, visit


The mission of the City School District of Albany is to educate and prepare all students for college and career, citizenship and life, in partnership with our diverse community. The district serves more than 9,600 students in 17 elementary, middle and high schools. In addition to neighborhood schools, the district includes several magnet schools and programs, as well as other innovative academic opportunities for students, including four themed academies at Albany High School.

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