NJROTC honors piling up

Cross Creek students at NJROTC drill practice (File Photo)

Aniya Ballard

Cross Creek students at NJROTC drill practice (File Photo)

Cmdr. Jonathan Shaw is proud of the name Cross Creek is making for itself in terms of its NJROTC program.

Cross Creek’s NROTC program was classified as a magnet school last year and is quickly gaining attention.

“Cross Creek ROTC is one of the top units,” Shaw said. “The unit is doing really well.”

Jacob Clements, a junior, said that NROTC has had a big impact on his life.

“It helped me to take better care of myself,” Clements said.

Cross Creek’s NJROTC program plans to break ground on a new, 8,590-square-foot facility sometime in October. The facility will include a 2,000-square-foot, 12-lane shooting range, Shaw said.

Shaw said the new facility is up for approval at the next school board meeting.

Because the program will be classified as a magnet school, even students from out of zone will be able to attend, Shaw said.

Currently, Cross Creek’s NJROTC program ranks No. 11 out of 700 schools in the world in terms of size, Shaw said.

Cross Creek’s ROTC program has won accolades for its drill, orienteering and rifle programs.

A week ago, the rifle team won the Navy League Rifle Tournament and the CSRA Rifle League Championship. Junior Neva Philp and freshman Ilea Smalley both set new records in the competition.

The NJROTC unit has also won honors for its drill and orienteering teams.

Shaw is also particularly proud of his Core Four, a group of the top four cadets who basically lead the Cross Creek NJROTC. The Core Four consists of  Alexis Dunlap, Ernest Leyseth, Austin Pothress and Haley Smith.

Shaw said Cross Creek is known as a showcase school, with 80 percent of scholarships going to NJROTC. All NJROTC cadets graduate with a diploma. Sixty percent of all NJROTC graduates go to college, Shaw said. Steven Farina , class of  2013, got an appointment to United States Naval Academy.