The obstacle course at the Marine Corps Logistics Base is meant to build endurance, test physical fitness, and build team work. Recently, more than 120 Colquitt County High School Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps students took on that challenge.
Retired Lt. Col. Paul Nagy is the Senior Military Instructor at Colquitt County High School and he says the cadets were in for a treat. "Most of these kids have never seen anything like this, let alone try and do it. You fall off an obstacle and eat some saw dust and it actually it makes you a little bit stronger" says Nagy.
Active duty marines demonstrate each section of the obstacle course before helping the cadets through it. Besides the physical challenge, Master Sergeant Mark Carabello say there is another takeaway they want the students to learn. "At this young age to build that comradery with their local cadets and to build that team work is key" says Carabello.
Cadets had to climb over a bar, hop over a few logs, swing onto metal polls and shimmy their way down, stand up on logs and walk down, jump onto another log and swing off. While some move with ease, others get stuck. Classmates and fellow cadets offer words of encouragement to give the courage needed to continue. "We're saying things like "come on you got this", "you know you want it", "push yourself", "girls are doing better than you" says Allison Knajdek. Active duty marines also encourages the cadets to push through the pain and try their best to navigate the course.
After getting over a 10-foot-tall wall, flipping over bars, and climbing rope, in the end all of the JROTC students made it through the course.
Instructors say for some students just getting through the course serves as a wakeup call. "They realize you know maybe I need to be doing some extra pushups and sit ups and putting on the running shoes and getting down the road a little bit" says Nagy.
In part two, we'll show you how the JROTC program at Colquitt County High School has made a difference in the lives of students.