JROTC earns top award

JROTC students in uniform stand with their supervisors

Albany High School’s Sgt. Henry Johnson Battalion Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (JROTC) has been awarded a coveted “Honor Unit with Distinction” for 2019-20.

The Department of the Army presents the award to JROTC units that maintain an exceptionally high level of performance. It is the highest rating a JROTC battalion can receive.

Currently in its fourth year, Albany High’s JROTC program has 110 cadets in grades 9-12. The award was announced Oct. 16 but is based on a series of inspections that took place in April.  The award puts the Albany High JROTC on par with long-established JROTC groups at local schools.

Several seniors involved in the process that led to the distinction agreed that teamwork was the key to their success. So was inspiring their fellow cadets to buy in to be their best.

“If someone sees that you are truly invested in something, they’re more likely to be motivated,” said Battalion Leader Julia Baez.

Friendly competitions among the group and rewards like ‘Cadet of the Month’ helped keep cadets pumped up to excel.

“We needed a lot of kids to be dedicated to the process. We had to get everyone involved,” “When you see everyone that driven, it is truly a magnificent thing,” Baez said. 

Executive officer Pratik Saha said that student leaders faced the challenge of understanding the common goal as they sought the distinction and communicating it to their peers. 

The inspection that earned the distinction was extensive. The battalion was rated on supply operations (earning a perfect score); online cadet portfolios (which includes resumes and goal setting), presentations by the cadets on service learning projects; and more.

Added battalion operations officer Dennis Tanguid: “We had to work for it, and we had to work hard.”

The payoff?

“[The distinction] makes us stand out. It shows people how much we worked as a team,” Saha said.