Valley JROTC teams advance JLAB competition

Published 9:30 am Wednesday, December 21, 2022

VALLEY — Chambers County School District’s Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (JROTC) recently received notices that two of its teams from Valley High School will advance to the second round of the JROTC Leadership & Academic Bowl (JLAB) online competition.

The cadets are under the direction of Major Brett A. Wiersma (U.S. Army retired).

The JLAB, explains Major Wiersma, is all all-service, national competition comprised of two online testing rounds that culminate in the Level II JLAB championship, which takes place in June 2023 at Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. JLAB is one of JROTC’s biggest events with cadets from across the country competing in battles of knowledge and skill focused on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) and leadership questions.

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JLAB Level I is a nationwide online competition occurring in November 2023 between all Army JROTC schools (more than 1,700 of them) with approximately 500 of them advancing to Level II. Level II online testing begins in early February, covering not only STEM and leadership topics but also finance and current events. Although the score threshold for advancement to Level II is unknown (it’s set by the Army), only 40 teams will be selected to attend JLAB’s national competition in Washington, D.C. Cadets selected to Level II competition represent only the top three percent of all JROTC cadets across the U.S.

The team that wins at the National Symposium will earn up to $25,000 in gift cards and scholarships. Any team advancing past Level II will earn a specific medal designated by the U.S. Army Cadet Command.

In its inaugural year, the CCSD’s JROTC fielded an academic and leadership team with seven cadets from Valley High. “These cadets began preparing back in August with weekly sessions held after school and additional long study hours on their own,” Major Wiersma said. “Normally, JROTC units field teams with sophomores and juniors with several years of experience under their belts. All of Chambers County School District’s JROTC cadets are freshmen and first-year cadets.”

The Valley High JROTC academic team consists of Cadets Tyra Pittman, Anna Letson, Rowan J0rdan, and Katelyn Quarles. The leadership team consists of Cadets Rihanna Swain, Brodie Yates and Jayla Glaze. Cadet Tilyn Carrrell will be joining the leadership team for Level II.