Central High’s Rifle and Academic Teams Showcase Their Talent in Competitions

CENTRAL HIGH'S RIFLE AND ACADEMIC TEAMS SHOWCASE THEIR TALENT IN COMPETITIONS -- Rifle team competitors aim to hit the targets in order to out-do their opponents.

Sergeant Major Franklin

CENTRAL HIGH’S RIFLE AND ACADEMIC TEAMS SHOWCASE THEIR TALENT IN COMPETITIONS — Rifle team competitors aim to hit the targets in order to out-do their opponents.

Abby Young, Staff Writer

Central’s JROTC program is one inclusive team within its self. However, when the group is broken down into its respective teams, students are able to focus on specialized skills and talents. Two teams that are a part of the JROTC program are the rifle and academic team.

The rifle team learns how to use guns and fire them safely. They review safety procedures, practice rifle marksmanship skills, and compete by firing at targets. Sergeant Major Ricky Franklin, the coach of the rifle team, is mostly concerned with the safety aspect of the team.

“Even though our air rifles are not nearly as powerful as other firearms that use gunpowder, they are powerful enough to cause serious injuries. The safety procedures that we practice also apply to all other types of firearms,” Franklin clarified.

The team participated in two different competitions this year in many different schools. They began with the Hamilton County Department of Education JROTC Rifle Marksmanship League competition. From November 2018 to February 2019, the team challenged another school each week. Then, on February 9, 2019, the HCDE Superintendent’s Match took place. In both competitions, four members shot pellets at paper targets, gaining points in every new position.

“We would usually have matches on Thursday. We shoot three targets all together at a match prone, which is lying down, kneeling, and standing,” Cadet Hyatt Green, a junior member of the team, described.

The team consists of team commander, Colt Davidson, and eight other members who tried out for a position on the team back in August. The team earned fourth place in both competitions.

“I really enjoy getting to be a part of an awesome team and going to different schools to compete. It is a great chance to come out of my shell,” Freshman Cadet Anna Frazier admitted.

The academic team focuses on the JROTC members’ knowledge and intellect. They cover a wide variety of topics in order to show off their talent. Even though the academics team does not necessarily center on dangerous tasks, the team still faces difficult situations. Major David Spencer instructs the academic team on the many divergent questions the team has to face.

“Academic team questions can cover a wide area of topics, from math, science, geography, history and many more,” Spencer stated.

The competition that the academic team faces, the JROTC Leadership & Academic Bowl (JLAB), is online, and contains three levels. Central’s team, made up of four members, participated in the first level of competition on February 11. The second level takes place in March, and the third level, which occurs in Washington, D.C., is scheduled to be in June.

The team was challenged by the questions asked in the competitions. Each question was timed and the team collaborated to determine the answer. There was also a competition held in Soddy Daisy, which confirmed that the team could progress to the second round.

“I enjoy this team very much. I enjoy the after-school meetings, and meeting new members. The competition can be a bit stressful, but they are always fun,” team captain, Jessica Thomas, vocalized.

The JROTC program contains many members with various talents that are recognized. Thanks to the recent competition that the teams participated in, their talents were acknowledged.

“The camaraderie between the team members and the commitment to safety are what make the teams special. Everyone enjoys getting together for either practice or competition, and each strives to improve his or her skills. This requires a lot of concentration, determination, and practice. No matter the skill level, all members always give their best,” Franklin concluded.