Impressive Grissom raider team and female cadet earn national recognition

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. - Huntsville City Schools athletes are getting national recognition for their work with the schools' JROTC programs. Teams from multiple schools received high honors.

Grissom's JROTC Military Skills Team took the top prize in the Tennessee State Raider Competition. We're told there is not one of these competitions in Alabama, so they traveled out-of-state to compete. The male team led by Cadet Trent Avery took first place overall, and the coed team also took first overall. Cadet Avery was separately honored there with an Outstanding Leadership Award.

The Grissom military skills team then traveled to nationals in Georgia, where they played third overall, winning trophies in all five categories. Senior Cadet Emily Myers won the female division of the Ultimate Raider competition.

"At the end, they said it was Top 3 in the nation, ever in the past 10 years," said Myers. "I kind of started crying, and didn't really realize how big an accomplishment I just made."

She said the heart of the raider team is in the teamwork.

"We're all here for each other," she said. "It's really family oriented, so that's how we kind of see it. We do it for the people on the right and on the left of us."

Grissom Senior Army Instructor, LTC Johnnie Richardson, said Myers is an outstanding role model but he's also proud of the entire team.

"I'll put my cadets up against any other varsity sport in the nation," he said. "It gives First Sergeant and me both a tremendous amount of pride when we see these men and women come out here on their own time, two hours a day, to practice."

Huntsville High's Air Force JROTC also received the Air Force Association Outstanding Unit for Alabama award in a November ceremony. School leaders tell us this is a prestigious honor only bestowed upon one Air Force JROTC in the state per year.

JROTC programs at Lee/New Century, Jemison, and Columbia are also growing.

These kinds of successes are a tribute to the character and determination the students have, administrators tell us.

Huntsville City Schools is growing its JROTC programs and accommodating more students who would like to join. There is a wait list to get into many programs. The school system is able to put more instructors in the classrooms, and add more resources to support them.

"With us now giving career prep credit based on the development we do, that's really going to increase the amount of students who want to take this program," said LTC Richardson. "But we are going to go beyond the career prep. We are going to teach them things about life, and how to be better citizens."