Press release by Michigan City Area Schools:
Michigan City High School honored veterans with a ceremony at the high school gym. It was a modified military parade, featuring the high school band, choir and Marine Corps Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (MCJROTC). State Representative Pat Boy was the guest speaker. She spoke about the many members of her family who had served in the military, to include Marines who survived the sinking of the USS Wasp. She encouraged the student body to consider serving our nation in the same tradition as her family.
“With less than one percent of our population serving in the military, I think it is more important now more than ever to remind our students of the sacrifices that have been made in order to keep the United States the greatest country in the world,” said Senior Marine Instructor Major Tom McGrath.
One of the highlights of the ceremony was a demonstration of armed exhibition drill, modeled after the U.S. Marine Corps Silent Drill Platoon. Master Sergeant Jeff Benak, the Marine Instructor, noted the amount of practice it takes to synchronize the throwing and spinning of the rifles. “Armed Exhibition is the toughest event in a military drill competition. It takes much dexterity and attention to detail to master those movements. It was really great for our cadets to be able to incorporate part of their routine into the ceremony.”
The MCJROTC also provided the Color Guards for the Purdue University Northwest and the Michigan City chapter of the Marine Corps League ceremonies. This was in addition to the cadets’ own ceremony honoring the U.S. Marine Corps’ 248th birthday. Mrs. Donna Schliephake, the MCJROTC Booster Club President who did much of the organizational work for the birthday celebration, was impressed with the camaraderie of the cadets. “In the JROTC, it doesn’t matter what your academic or athletic talents are, or what you look like. All of the kids just love being with each other in the program.”
Prior to the Thanksgiving break, the MCHS MCJROTC Raider team will compete at Indianapolis Ben Davis High School. Their goal is to qualify for the MCJROTC National Raider Championship in Boswell, PA the last weekend in April. The Drill Team will next be in action at the Portage Drill Meet on December 2nd. Immediately after that, the cadets will march in the Michigan City Holiday Parade that night. The Drill team’s goal is to qualify for the Marine JROTC National Championship in May in Washington, DC. The cadets will participate in a number of community service activities prior to the holidays, to include assisting the Salvation Army in their food and donation drive, the Deserving Children Shopping Tours, and the Michigan City Area Schools’ One City One Sound holiday concert.