Two schools – three national champions!

May 18, 2015

The Silver Eagles Armed Drill Team at Jay HS and the Blue Aces Unarmed Drill Team from Brandeis HS were crowned national champions at the National High School Drill Team Championships in Daytona Beach, Fla.  In addition, two cadets from Jay's Snap II won the Unarmed Duel Exhibition National Championship. This competition pits the “best of the best” high school drill teams in the country from the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, and Air Force.

The Jay HS AFJROTC team placed first in the Demilitarized Arms Squad Exhibition phase and first in the Demilitarized Arms Platoon Exhibition phase becoming only the second team in history to win both phases at the Nationals Masters Level Competition.

The team placed second in the Demilitarized Arms Regulation phase and third in the Inspection phase. When the dust settled, the Jay Silver Eagles were crowned the 2015 Grand National Champions at the formal awards gala.

Also, Cadets Meryl Belisario and Adriana Coatl from Snap II won the Unarmed Duel Exhibition National Championship performing their entire routine blind folded. 

Snap II placed 4th in the Unarmed Regulation phase and 7th overall.

This is the third Grand National Championship for the Silver Eagles having won in 2002 and 2012. They are the only Air Force Demilitarized Arms Drill Team in history to win a Grand National Championship. This victory also secures the Eagles with another AFJROTC National Championship – their ninth in a row.

"They are the best of the best and these national championships are a huge achievement,” says Silver Eagles Coach James A. Henry, Jr., SMSgt, USAF (Ret). “It is difficult to win and be strong in all phases of competition. It takes a lot of dedication and sacrifice to get to this level. They've practiced six days a week since last July. Most important to me though are not the trophies, but who these young people become in life."

In addition to the team’s success, Cadet 1st Lieutenant Cameron Arroyo won the Demilitarized Arms Solo Exhibition National Championship, and Cade Lieutenant Colonel Giuseppe Priolo placed 2nd in the Commanders competition.

After being named runner-up national champions for the last four years, the Blue Aces were crowned the 2015 All Service National Champions. This women’s unarmed drill team made school history when they were also named the 2015 Air Force National Champions. The Blue Aces, under the command of Cadet Captain Kimberly Gilson, placed first in Regulation, third in Element and Flight Exhibition, and fourth in inspection.

The Color Guard, commanded by Cadet 1st Lieutenant Jessica Vaughan, placed second. Cadet Gilson also placed third in the Commander Division and was the recipient of the Jean Weil $1,000 scholarship.

The Junior Varsity Color Guard, commanded by Cadet 2nd Lieutenant Elisse Simoneaux, placed fourth in the Open Division out of 37 teams.