Graduation Color Guard

Every year the West High Air Force JROTC unit completes over 100 color guards for various events and organizations. Out of the numerous color guards that the unit completes, none is more prestigious from a cadet standpoint then the Graduation color guard. Many cadets want to do this to honor and recognize their graduation friends or siblings. “I want to do this for my commander of my competition team who we have competed with for the past two years and won the trophies over there and is graduating this year,” said Charles Bungay a member of the team last year.

In years prior the team was hand selected by some of the best color guard by the commander of the team. This year due to the overwhelming support and dedication there were too many cadets to pick from, so the leadership came up with the idea of tryouts. “I’m glad they are. I want us to look good and perform good,” said Charles Bungay when asked about how he feels about the holding of tryouts. As it is open to anyone, the group will have a wide range of talent, from drill team veterans to color guard first years. Any cadet within the group can audition for the spot they are best at. If cadets desire they can tryout for more than one position, such as flag bearer or riflemen. They will then be put through various movements that are very similar to color guard at the Sullivan Arena. A panel of three judges from the leadership will score and determine who is the best for the job. They look at things such as sharpness to the movement, precision, and bearing. “For me personally I think I will get on but I don’t know about others, I have the snap needed to win,” said Jack Gagnon a second year cadet.

Its a rather simple color guard in terms of the movements but the real challenge is getting over the nerves of performing in a dead silent 6,000 person stadium in front of all your friends and peers. “You have to imagine how loud it will be and then try to ignore it before you go out there, and prepare everything so that you know what to do without the commands because often you can’t hear,” said Jack Gagnon about the mental preparation most cadets take before the performance. To get ready for the evening, cadets who make the detail practice for about two weeks before the color guard. Not only physical work is required, many hopeful members and returning members say that it’s important to not only physically prepare but to also mentally prepare for it.

Most cadets that compete on the team are sophomores and juniors and very rarely will a freshman get the honor to be on the team. This year might be one of the first with a freshman with Rebecca Syrup a color guard commander this year for the freshmen team that one first place in state drill meet. It’s an annual color guard that West High JROTC will do as long as students are graduating from the halls of West High. For those cadets who tried out, most will have a chance next year.