Photo by Julia Yacas
Waipahu JROTC is not letting COVID-19 stop them from competing with other schools and settling the scores with their rivals.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, many Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (JROTC) schools are challenged with keeping their cadets engaged and entertained. Most JROTC events are in-person, such as drill competitions which are units executing marching routines from the military, Raider competitions (exercises/obstacle courses), and Military Ball. Despite COVID-19 making the events unsafe, Waipahu JROTC has decided to host a virtual physical competition with their number one rival, Mililani High School. The virtual competition was supposed to be a competition with Farrington, which was later postponed. As a result, Waipahu JROTC challenged Mililani on Friday, November 9, 2020.
During the weekly meetings with Farrington, the leadership from both schools decided on the exercises, push-ups, curl-ups, and planks. Both schools found one male and one female to compete in each category. This means there is a total of six competitors from each school. From there, the cadets challenged each other to see who could do the most in one minute, or who could hold a plank the longest for the planks category.
Every cadet was evaluated and had their results recorded by another JROTC instructor or an Army recruiter. Every category is strict due to the virtual format, which gives cadets a chance to cheat. Luckily, cadet leadership thought of every rule and scenario.
For the push-up category, the camera had to be placed at a certain angle, and the cadet had to demonstrate a perfect push up with their back straight while counting out loud or saying a cadence (a song sung to perfect the rhythm you’re moving to). This is because the cadet could show a looped recording or freeze their screen to cheat. If their knees were to hit the ground, they would be disqualified.
As for the sit-ups category, the cadet’s hands and fingers were locked behind their head and they had to have their feet held down. Similar to the sit-ups category, the camera had to be at a certain angle and competitors had to count out loud to say a cadence.
The same procedure occurred for the planks, although if a cadet broke the plank position, they were immediately disqualified.
If a cadet experienced lag, then they would be stopped and have to compete after everyone else. The number or time would be paused from the moment they lagged and would proceed once they began again. This is so it would be fair if the cadet drained their energy and had to restart.
For every category, each cadet competing went into a separate Google Meet room presented to everyone in the main room to reduce the chance of lag for the competitor. In the separate Google Meet room would only be the judge and the competitor.
On November 9, Mililani High School and Waipahu High School cadets logged on to cheer on the 12 competitors. Waipahu High School won the plank competition with four minutes and twenty-eight seconds.
“That was kind of a lot of fun. I thought it would be kind of boring to stand here and watch someone plank for five minutes but I was not bored at all,” said Major Chris Robertson, WHS JROTC Senior Army Instructor.
“You guys really set the standards and that’s what it’s about. It’s about leadership and developing leadership. You guys are really making the effort to take this pandemic and pick a struggling time that we are dealing with to make it some type of adventure and event … I am proud to be a JROTC instructor,” said Chief Johnny Hickson, one of the instructors at Mililani.