After winning first at all of their competitions so far this year, the no.1 ranked military guard in the state, Warren Central MCJROTC color guard aspires to find more challenging competition in Daytona, Florida during the National High School Drill Team Championships.
“We want to go to Daytona to show our colors,” senior Leslie Vargas said. “People don’t truly understand the connection you can achieve with your team.”
Since the beginning of the year, the color guard has been practicing their presentation of colors every week Monday through Thursday in two-hour sessions each day. They work on every detail down to their uniforms. Every practice, they are working in the commons to perfect their timing, intervals and alignment. Timing-wise, they have to make sure they do everything together and in uniform unless their motions have to differ from one another. Even then, their moves must be concise. Perfecting alignment means they are walking in a perfect line when they are shoulder to shoulder, which goes hand-in-hand with timing. Intervals have to do with how far apart they are from each other and making sure they are all equal distances.
“We, all four, have trained vigorously through very competitive competitions and come out on top,” senior Micah Hunter said. “The colors are supposed to be honored with the utmost respect and effort put into it.”
Last year, the group introduced the idea of going to Nationals after winning first and second places their whole season, but due to underfunding and lack of time to prepare, they saved the idea for this year.
“We have more than enough potential to gain more and more and push past our limits,” Vargas said. “We can show others that anything can be possible.”
To help pay for their trip, the group has started a GoFundMe and raised over $700 for their trip. However, the group is still financially short of their $4,700 goal.
“There has never been a Marine Corps team to place at Daytona, and we want to represent the Corps and honor our country by doing so, but we need the funds to get there,” senior Emillee Smock said.
Seniors Emilee Smock, Leslie Vargas and Micah Hunter along with junior Dawyne Johnson are the four members of the MCJROTC Color Guard. They all have been in the Warren Central ROTC program and in the guard since their freshman year. Since the beginning of the year, the group has been the team to beat, getting compliments from people of high esteem such as the Assistant Director of Westpoint. These students have been training for competition their entire high school careers and have now gotten their chance to show the nation what they have been working to perfect throughout the years.
“It’s extremely important to us because we’ve worked so hard,” Smock said. “The team going [to Daytona] is three-fourths seniors, so for three of us, it is our last shot to go to nationals. Our passion is to represent the colors with honor and pride.”