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AHS hosts ROTC drill conference Jan. 17

From left, cadets Emily Suzuki, Lauren Daley and Berkeley Leavitt do their morning pushups as members of the Air Force Junior ROTC program at Arlington High School. - SARAH ARNEY The Arlington Times
From left, cadets Emily Suzuki, Lauren Daley and Berkeley Leavitt do their morning pushups as members of the Air Force Junior ROTC program at Arlington High School.
— image credit: SARAH ARNEY The Arlington Times

ARLINGTON — Major Mike Blue is in his third year as a teacher of JROTC at Arlington High School and now, to top it all off, he is preparing to host the Olympic Division of the Northwest Drill & Rifle Conference at Arlington High School Saturday, Jan. 17.

Fifty-five students are registered in his program of four classes and they will all compete in some of the many categories scheduled throughout the day, as well as helping host the event.

Blue is assisted in planning by the officers of the school’s JROTC program, including Becca Wadey, who holds the position of public information officer.

They expect as many as 350 students from schools around Puget Sound to participate from 7 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., according to a parent member of the community support group, Dean Olsen Jr.

The public is welcome and encouraged to attend, Blue said.

The competitions are among high schools with JROTC programs representing all four branches of the Armed Services (Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines).

While the students have no military obligation, many join JROTC in the expectation of preparing to join the military.The PIO officer, Wadey is a perfect example.

“I come from a military family and I thought that this class would help prepare me for the military,” Wadey said last week, while helping Blue get ready for the upcoming conference.

The conference is similar to sports in that the students practice outside of class time, Blue said.

At AHS they practice for an hour before school Monday through Friday with competition meets on Saturdays, usually once a month from December to April.

Along with Arlington, schools in the Olympic Division include Oak Harbor, Burlington-Edison, Marysville, Everett, Mariner, Snohomish, Federal Way, Todd Beamer and Mt. Tahoma.

“The students compete in a multitude of events and, like track, the schools pick and choose in which events they will compete. Some are team and some are individual competitions.

There are 12 different drill sequences that can be used for each competition and the host school chooses which one they will use, informing all participating teams three weeks prior to the event.

All events except the Air Rifles will be at Arlington High School. The Air Rifle events will be at Bowman Manufacturing, Blue said.

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