Despite having the smallest team at the Portage High School Marine Corps Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (MCJROTC) military drill competition on February 26, 2022, the Michigan City High School (MCHS) cadets earned first, second and third place trophies. The Wolves Color Guard A finished first, Color Guard B finished second, and the Armed Exhibition platoon earned a third place finish. Color Guard A and the Armed Exhibition platoon was commanded by senior Cadet Major Declan Rice, and Color Guard B was commanded by freshman Cadet Lance Corporal Marcus Mantel.
Rice, who also commanded the Unarmed and Armed platoons, was impressed with the performance of his fellow cadets, but is determined to improve. “It was great to earn trophies in those three events, but I know that we can do better, particularly in the Unarmed and Armed regulation competitions.”
Major Tom McGrath, the Senior Marine Instructor, agreed with Rice’s assessments, but was highly complimentary of his cadet commanding officer. “Most schools have a different commander for each category in a drill meet. Having the flexibility and mental endurance to
command four units is a tribute to Major Rice’s dedication to our program.”
Master Sergeant Jeff Benak, the Marine Instructor, noted Mantel’s commanding Color Guard B, earning a second place trophy as a freshman. “Younger cadets like Lance Corporal Mantel, and fellow Lance Corporals (Matthew) Wilson, (Tanner) Klimczyk and (Keith) Hawley have really stepped up as we try to recover from the effects of Covid.” Mantel was grateful for the opportunity to command and encouraged other students to consider taking MCJROTC as an elective course. “In sports, you have to wait until you are a senior to be a captain. In JROTC, if you work hard, you can get the same chance that I did.”
These same cadets also helped honor our country and the MCHS boys basketball seniors on Senior Night. The program provides a Color Guard for all home football and boys basketball games, along with just about every patriotic event that occurs in LaPorte County.
​MCHS will compete in the MCJROTC Regional Championship meet on March 5th at Purdue University in West Lafayette. The winner of that meet will compete in the National Championship Meet in Daytona Beach, Florida in April. That trip, like all MCJROTC activities, is done at no cost to the student. The Marine Corps provides all funding.