JROTC Teams Take on COVID-19

As the shocking news of eventual school closings due to COVID-19 became clear in mid-March, the seniors of the Drum Corps put away their drumsticks for the last time, along with the seniors of Honor Guard who put away their shoes and flags, and the seniors of the Armed Drill Team who put away their rifles. As the school switched over to remote learning, all team practices and events were canceled, thus frustrating many students. 

“I was really mad and angry last year when I found out that the competition season was cut short,” Armed Drill Team Commander Kevin Gao, a senior, said. “I wanted to throw something and I did in fact split two pencils in half out of anger.”

It is no secret that the world has taken a pause due to the ongoing Coronavirus. The deadly virus has already affected many people worldwide. Even with all of the obstacles that many teams are facing, commanders are not letting this virus defeat them. 

“Practice is run through Zoom and material is posted through google classroom,” Academic Team Commander Ivy Zheng, a senior, said. “Finding multiple ways to make practice more exhilarating is tough because what more can you do to make studying fun? But for now, we use Kahoot to make it more fun.”

However, the Academic Team is not the only team that has found a way to practice in order to keep up with their skills. Drum Corps found a unique solution. 

“There were weekly beats that we had to record ourselves playing and submit them to the commanders to make sure that we still knew our beats,” senior and member of the Drum Corps, Tina Zhang said. 

Some teams opted for virtual practice, while other teams, like Drill and Honor Guard, who practice through physical movements, found the situation difficult. Team commanders are attempting to keep their team unified as one.

“The commanders are trying their best to keep the members motivated and ready for the possibility of practice continuing,” Gao responded. “Everything is so unpredictable, therefore it is really hard to plan things.”

Gao reflected concern about the future of the team and the inability to correctly train the members for competitions in the future. The members of Armed Drill will have difficulty getting back on track due to the shortage of practice time. It will be challenging for the following years to gain back the time wasted during the pandemic.

“It’s been tough, but I think everyone still has that positive attitude which is great,” Army Instructor Sergeant Dash commented. “They just want to try to get back to the basics as soon as possible.” 

Although the teams are practicing in a new environment, the commanders and coaches want to ensure that practice feels normal even during this conflict, as well as making sure their team stays afloat and motivated. They are determined to push through this obstacle and leave a significant impact together as a team. 

“The state for the future of the Armed Drill Team is keeping me motivated during this time,” Gao expressed with confidence. “Every day I wake up thinking about the team, wondering what it will become. This team is my second family and I will definitely not let them down.”