Facing down 35 of the best and brightest drill teams in the country, Gloucester High School's Marine JROTC has once again returned with honors from Daytona Beach, Fla..
Today, the Marine Corps' biggest helicopter, the CH-53E Super Stallion, is scheduled to land at the high school, ending Marine Week at the school. On Thursday, members of the national Marine Corps' martial arts, boxing and basketball teams visited the school. The martial arts and boxing teams gave demonstrations, said Gloucester JROTC instructor Rick Muth. Some students even sparred with the boxers, while members of the Marine basketball team joined Gloucester High varsity players for a scrimmage between mixed squads, he said.
Meanwhile, the Gloucester JROTC drill teams had a successful competition at the nationals in Daytona last weekend after competing in all four events in both the armed and unarmed divisions.
The unarmed team — composed entirely of girls — earned sixth place in exhibition. The squad earned fifth place in color guard.
Both the boys and the girls came in ninth in the inspection competition.
The girls' sixth-place finish represented the second-best score the team has ever received in exhibition, and the group was beaten out for fifth place by one point, Muth said.
Muth also said the team, in his view, exceeded expectations.
"They did more than I could have asked for," Muth said. "They did very well and had fun."
While competing at the nationals, Gloucester's JROTC cadets also visited several locations on the trip, including Universal Studios in Orlando and the National Marine Corps Museum at Quantico, Va.
The drill team nationals did not mark the end of the JROTC competitive season.
Gloucester's physical training team will be travelling to San Diego later this month to participate in the National Youth Physical Fitness Championships.
In that competiton. the Gloucester girls earned the highest score for the Northeast Region at regional qualifiers, and posted the second highest score in the nation.
The leader of the girls' team, junior Soo Hwa Ono, is the highest scoring female competitor in the country; the leader of the boys' team, junior Guillermo Sierra, is the second highest scoring male competitor in the country.