Jay M. Robinson High School senior Ben Williams had a big party on a recent Saturday night when 285 of his closest friends, their dates and even some of their parents joined him and danced the night away.Williams, a cadet lieutenant colonel in the Air Force JROTC program at Robinson High in Concord, spent the past six months preparing for the Air Force JROTC Military Ball, held in The Court at Kings Way Baptist Church in Concord. The theme of the seventh annual ball was “Bright Lights, Big City” and featured a New York City skyline mural created by Robinson’s art department to help set the mood. Cadets and their dates from four local JROTC units encompassing six high schools attended the event. Boys in creased pants swirled girls in chiffon dresses and wrist corsages. The teenage junior officers from Robinson, Mount Pleasant, Central Cabarrus, Northwest Cabarrus, Cox Mill and Hickory Ridge high schools brought months of physical training to the dance floor.“It’s like prom for military kids,” said Tina Eanes, president of the Air Force Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps’ parent booster club, who led parent volunteers and helped secure the venue.“The first two months were primarily focused on where the ball would take place,” said Williams, who worked with Eanes to find the large gymnasium they could transform into the NYC rooftop. “Kings Way Baptist Church was generous to … host the ball. Serving the community and celebrating the kids is what we are all about,” said Eanes.“Teamwork is key,” Williams said about the success of the ball. “It is demonstrated through the construction of props, the logistics of purchasing items, moving items to and from the location, the time and energy to set up and take down decorations and food, and the distribution of information of this event to the other schools.…“By coordinating this, I learned that I can accomplish anything I put my mind to with the help and support of working as a team,” Williams said.Helping Williams and other teenage students develop integrity, a sense of accomplishment, education, leadership and teamwork are Lt. Col. Scott Rose and Master Sgt. Wayne Outram, both retired from active military duty and now teachers in the Cabarrus County Schools.“Our mission is to build better citizens,” said Rose, adding that the preparation and skills acquired in JROTC helps students prepare for college and excel in their careers, whether military-related or otherwise. “We are not recruiters. We are teachers, coaches, guidance counselors and sometimes parents to kids,” said Rose, 48, of Concord, who is in his third year teaching at Robinson.“We believe this year’s Military Ball was the best yet. … This is all the result of the hard work, support, and dedication of the parents,” said Rose, who appreciated the fun of the evening as well as the opportunity for the cadets to display the social training, etiquette and introductions they learned in JROTC.“My experiences in JROTC have strengthened me in my communication skills, revealed my weaknesses to allow me to become stronger and develop leadership skills that I believe will have a great influence in my future,” Williams said.“AFJROTC is open to all students in the ninth through 12th grades capable of participating in the entire program: academics, wearing the uniform, drill and physical fitness,” said Rose. “Parents who have cadets enrolled in AFJROTC are welcome to volunteer their time in support of the program. AFJROTC is an elective class called Aerospace Science, but it is part of a career cluster. Enrollment in AFJROTC is through the normal scheduling process, which is coordinated among the student, their parents, and their guidance counselor.”
Friday, Mar. 22, 2013
Air Force JROTC Military Ball a success
Cadet Lt. Col. Ben Williams, 18, of Jay M. Robinson High School's Air Force JROTC and his date, Brianna Walker, 14, of Concord, enjoy the unit's seventh annual Military Ball. "It's a lot bigger than I thought. It's pretty awesome," said Walker. KRISTEN FORTIN
Lt. Col. Scott Rose attended Jay M. Robinson High School's Air Force JROTC Military Ball with his wife, Terri. "We believe this year’s Military Ball was the best yet," Rose said. "The venue, decorations, music, food, photography and festive atmosphere resulted in a memorable evening for all." COURTESY OF MICKI CROWDER
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Kristen Fortin is a freelance writer for Cabarrus News. Have a story idea for Kristen? Email her at email@example.com.
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