MAXWELL AIR FORCE BASE, Ala. (AFNS) -- The Air Force took top honors for the third year in a row at the Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps Leadership and Academic Bowl in Washington, D.C., June 23-25.
The Air Force Junior ROTC team from Scripps Ranch High School, San Diego, battled it out to take home the trophy for the third time.
Even for returning champions, there was still a level of uncertainty on how tough the competition would be.
“For me, the most difficult part was definitely not knowing how the other teams are doing - what their strengths and weaknesses are,” said Cadet Jackwin Hui, from Scripps Ranch High School. “So going into each new game, it’s an entirely new scenario and really just approaching what needed to be done.”
Television host Alex Trebek and his production team from the game show “Jeopardy” added to the excitement of this year’s competition, interviewing cadets for an upcoming teen version of the show. While the Junior ROTC Academic Bowl is an educational program designed to prepare students for high school exit and college entrance exams, it also served to educate Trebek.
“This event is an eye-opener,” Trebek said. “I had heard of ROTC. I had not heard about Junior ROTC and all of the goals that it tries to fulfill for the young students before they get to college.”
The Junior ROTC Academic Bowl is a multi-level competition for high school Junior ROTC units to participate in throughout the school year. Following online qualifying rounds, 16 teams traveled to Washington, D.C., to compete for the chance to represent the Air Force in the championship round. This year, 327 Air Force Junior ROTC teams participated, an increase of 80 teams from last year’s competition.
The competition includes a mix of Junior ROTC curriculum, English, Math and Science, all skills that contribute to the Air Force Junior ROTC core mission of developing citizens of character.
“Our goal is to support our country,” said Col. Paul Lips, Director Air Force Junior ROTC. “But, these are high school kids and they are learning what it takes to succeed by showing hard work and dedication to a team, putting the team first, and going out there and competing.”
Representing the Air Force from Scripps Ranch High School were cadets Raymond Sun, Albert Gu, Alan Hang and Jackwin Hui, led by their Junior ROTC instructors, Lt. Col. Michael Sheldon and Master Sgt. Ferdinand Toledo.
“This competition is a true testament to the word teamwork,” said Scotty Lewis, deputy director of Air Force Junior ROTC. “To prepare a winning team took countless hours of preparation, discipline and studying, as well as guidance provided by the instructors and team mentors, to compete at the level required.”