By Dana Trumbull
On Saturday, September 22, Apache Junction High School hosted the Navy Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (NJROTC) Prospector Brain Brawl. Out of 16 teams participating in the event, Apache Junction took the first place win, which earned them an automatic qualification for the Western Regional competition in California.
Brain Brawl is an academic competition that challenges cadets’ knowledge in Naval Sciences curriculum. The questions asked can come from topics that include history, science, Navy regulations, physical health, Navy ships and more.
Major William Parker, who retired from the AJHS NJROTC program in July of this year, was present at the competition as a moderator. (“I told the kids that I was doing court ordered community service,” he quipped.) “This is huge for AJ,” said Parker. “Great job by the new instructors LCDR Gary Lock and Senior Chief Kendra Welchert, the cadets who competed and those who ran the competition. I am excited for the future of the program!”
While the Academic Team competed in the Brain Brawl, the NJROTC Color Guard was leading the rest of the unit in the AJHS Homecoming Parade. Saturday evening, the Color Guard also presented the Colors at the Harley Davidson dealership in Apache Junction for the NRA fundraiser.
The night before, Friday, September 21, the Color Guard opened the Service Academy brief with a presentation of the Colors for U.S. Congressman Paul Gosar, then quickly headed back to AJHS to present the Colors for the Friday night football game against Shadow Mountain.
“All of the Cadets worked very hard this weekend to portray AJHS and the NJROTC unit with honor and showed what an active program they have,” said Senior Chief (retired) Kendra Welchert.
The AJHS Navy JROTC program serves students from the JO Combs district (San Tan Valley), as well as AJUSD (Apache Junction, Gold Canyon, Queen Valley and the unincorporated areas of the Superstition foothills). The United States Secretary of the Navy has awarded the AJHS NJROTC the highest designation the Navy can give a school, “Distinguished Unit,” for 13 consecutive years.
Photo above: The NJROTC Academic Team took first place in the Brain Brawl last weekend, earning automatic placement in the Western Regional competition. Back Row, L-R: Kortney Jaress, Justin Gough, Kaleb Schroeder, Haiden Deal, Kieth Rout. Front Row: Starrla Neuhaus, David Hoffman (Kneeling), Hayden Pride, Noah Welchert