Joliet Central JROTC team on to championship
By Tony Graf email@example.com May 11, 2012 11:12PM
Members of the Army JROTC academic team from Joliet Central are (top row, from left) Luis Jaime, Luke Osborn and Jose Sanchez; and (bottom row, from left) Abigale Crowder and Juana Alvarado. | SUBMITTED PHOTO
Updated: June 14, 2012 8:28AM
JOLIET — A team from Joliet Central High School will compete in the Army 2012 JROTC Academic Bowl Championship.
The Joliet Central team is one of only 24 teams in the nation to advance to the championship round.
In all, 1,731 schools have Army Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps programs; 1,583 entered teams in the Academic Bowl competition. Joliet Central is in the top 24.
The team — two juniors, two sophomores and one junior alternate — will compete from June 22 to 26 at George Mason University in Washington.
“Like they say, there’s really no ‘I’ in teamwork. Everyone needs to work as a team so we can advance to the next level,” said Luis Jaime, a junior team member.
Retired Army Maj. Philip Jayko is the faculty team leader. Last week, he described the team’s road to the nation’s capital.
In November, the small group of Central students participated in Round 1.
“We logged into the Internet, and they’re answering as a team,” Jayko said. “Once they start the testing, questions come up — multiple choice questions on a timer. Students have to decide the correct response, and it will auto-advance to the next question. Once you start, you can’t stop.”
Round 1 consisted of about 20 percent ROTC curriculum questions, 70 percent ACT/SAT national test questions and 10 percent current-events questions.
The top 50 percent of teams advanced to Round 2. The Joliet Central team competed in February.
In this round, the ROTC curriculum drops down to about 5 percent, but the ACT component goes up to about 85 percent, with 10 percent current events.
After spring break, Joliet Central was notified it would be advancing to the finals.
“When we go to George Mason, the environment changes tremendously,” Jayko said. “Here (at Joliet Central), it was Round 1, Round 2 — we were logging into an Internet site, multiple choice questions, timed. When we go to George Mason, they’ll be in a classroom against the other school that they’re competing against. Four on four. Ring in on the buzzer. It’s virtually identical to the way the high schools run the Scholastic Bowl.”
Juana Alvarado, a junior member of the team, spoke of the difficult early rounds.
“You don’t know how well the other teams are doing. So I’m sitting there, and I’m like, ‘How are we going to do this?’ ” she said. “But it actually wasn’t as bad as I thought. We were all kind of covering each other’s weaknesses.”
“We work as a team to choose the right answer,” said Abigale Crowder, junior alternate.
Central was one of two teams in its regional brigade to advance, the other team being from Minnesota.
“Out of the 3rd Brigade, out of 120 schools, it was a surprise hearing that we get to go to the finals in Washington, D.C. It was a good feeling,” said Luke Osborn, a sophomore team member.
“I thought it was really difficult, and I was excited that we went on to the finals,” said Jose Sanchez, a sophomore team member.
The event is sponsored by the Army JROTC and conducted by the College Options Foundation. The winner of the Army JROTC Academic Championship will compete against its Navy and Air Force counterparts in the newly established JROTC Tri-Service Academic Bowl Championship.