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WHS AFJROTC Win Awards at Nationals

Waller High School’s (WHS) Air Force JROTC (AFJROTC) Drill Teams once again received awards at the National High School Drill Team Championship in Daytona Beach, Florida. The WHS drill teams consist of the girls’ Unarmed Phantoms and the boys’ Armed Warhawks. The Phantoms compete on the Masters level and the Warhawks compete on the Challenger level. Since the Phantoms Drill Team won the Challenger Level Unarmed National Championship two years ago, this is the first year a WHS JROTC was able to compete on the Masters Level  The WHS AFJROTC program is led by Master Sergeant Joel Barnett and Lieutenant Colonel Byrl Engel.

"Watching these teams perform this year was such an awesome experience because they had to overcome so many obstacles and they still were able to perform at such a high level throughout the year," Barnett said.

Phantoms
Overall - 3rd place
Inspection - 3rd place
Regulation - 2nd place
Color Guard - 3rd place
Element Exhibition - 4th place
Flight Exhibition - 3rd place

Warhawks
Overall - 5th place
Inspection - 5th place
Regulation - 2nd place
Color Guard - 5th place
Exhibition - 4th place

Cadet First Lieutenant Stephanie De Leon and Cadet Justin Benassi were each awarded second place Top Commander trophies. De Leon trailed first place by only seven points and Benassi tied for second. This is also the first year JROTC had tandem teams compete. The Phantoms' Unarmed tandem team took second place overall, consisting of Cadet Captain Mahalia Lilly and Cadet 2nd Lieutenant Monserrat Mosqueda, and the Warhawks Armed tandem team had Cadet 2nd Lieutenant Kyle Sanders and Cadet Captain Isiah Rivas.

"Everything about our program revolves around leadership and followership training," Barnett said. "It's my hope that these cadets can take the hard work mindset that they have demonstrated in practice and in competition and take it to the next level, whether that is college, military, or a job."