Germantown JROTC has nearly 200 students
Since Germantown High School opened in 2011, the Marien Corps JROTC program has grown to nearly 200 students and boasts a bunch of awards.
Gunnery Sgt. Sevana Sharpe put it simply. “I like to win and our team is good at that,” the junior said.
The program is run by Lt. Col. Dave Harrill and Sgt. Maj. Rick Caisse, both retired from the United States Marine Corps.
Caisse has been with the program for about 11 years and has seen it grow from about 70 cadets to 190 this year, which makes it in his estimation one of the largest in the country.
The program has a drill team, color guard team, physical fitness team, and shooting team who compete in competitions. Caisse said the program has three state championships and is working on a fourth, which GHS will host in April.
Recently the physical fitness team has taken first place in two competitions including the Physical Fitness Raider Competition at Walker High School, just east of Baton Rouge in Louisiana on Sept. 9, and last weekend at the “Elite” physical fitness challenge at Terry High School.
“We have a really good physical fitness team,” Caisse said.
He went on to add that though he and Harrill offer guidance and support, the cadets run much of the program themselves including early morning workouts every weekday at the high school.
Capt. Cayla Bailey, a senior and the highest-ranked student officer among the cadets, said waking up early is a good way to build physical and mental toughness for all JROTC competitions. She says she likes the “environment” they have created at Germantown.
Second in command is Executive Officer Seth Cowart, a junior. Cowart said he joined JROTC because he had “nothing else to do” but has found a rewarding opportunity to challenge himself physically and grow as a leader.
“I really like figuring out how to motivate different people on our team,” Cowart said. “Different people get motivated in different ways.”
“We really owe this program to people like them,” Caisse said. “This program is run by the students.”
Their next competition will be in Florence in October.