Drill Team: Discipline and Determination Pay Off at State


1st Year Color Guard, First Place 1st Year Unarmed, First place Varsity Color Guard, Third Place Varsity Unarmed, First Place Armed, Third Place Dual Armed Exhibition, First Place. Photo by Jeffrey Ullom

What do you think about when you think of success? Perhaps you imagine getting a good job, or doing well in sports? Maybe even making enough money to live a comfortable life. But West High’s very own JROTC drill team shows us that success comes in many forms. Leadership skills, teamwork, determination, and most importantly, eagerness to have fun are some of the most important skills in life leading to success. 

To start, drill is a practice performed by military units throughout history. It is a completely synchronized practice that builds teamwork, trust, leadership, and discipline. In this case, West’s drill team competes with unarmed drill, armed drill, color guard, and armed exhibition drill. So how do achieve such major success?

Drill is just a small part of JROTC, but it can still be a big challenge. “Drill itself is pretty simple,” says senior Nora Fredhagen, the prior core commander of West AFJROTC and drill team commander. “It’s the synchronizing and unification of 30 plus cadets trying to do all the same thing and back up under the same mission. That, and waking up at 4:00am.” But when every bit of early morning hours and hard work came together for the state competition, it all shines bright in the form of pure talent and success. 

The secret to their victories, according to the drill team themselves, seems to be a cumulation of team building, trust, integrity, discipline, hard work, and caffeine. Along with, of course, parties at Fredenhagens’ house.  

While placed in an astonishing 20 out of 22 events they competed in, winning themselves (among others) the coastal trophy. This trophy is an incredibly important award earned by the school with the most cumulative trophies throughout the season. 

But even that award doesn’t compare to the magnificence of the state champion’s trophy that they earned after a series of intense performances. Even these edge-of-your-seats moments; however, could not compare with the palpably fierce emotions and tears of joy emanating from the team and instructors after earning their big win. After such a vigorous season, no one could contain their immense pride in themselves and in their teammates. 

These are some of the best rules that the team goes by: no matter how much drama there may be, or how badly you want to win, always work as a team. Always enjoy yourself. In the end, that is what will bring you success.