by Andy Cen and Johnny Ha
Surprising the other schools, Galileo’s Squad Drill and Drill Platoon both placed 1st in the annual JROTC Fall Comp at Balboa High School on November 14th. Squad Drill and Drill Platoon’s top finish, along with Guidon finishing 3rd, helped Galileo come in 2nd overall in the competition.
This was the first time since 2009 that Squad Drill had placed first in Fall Comp. Squad Drill participant, sophomore Irene An Chhay said, “I honestly felt pretty surprised that we placed first. But then again, my squad worked pretty hard for it and I’m really proud of them. Last year, as a freshman, I was really nervous, but it was pretty fun.”
For Drill Platoon, the squad had not placed 1st in many years, which made the dedication and effort by the team worthwhile. “Placing first was an amazing feeling, knowing that all my hard work had paid off and I get to share this feeling among my wonderful team. Joining Drill was an all new experience. I got to bond with several people and really saw the dedication this team had to place. Their dedication inspired me to try my best and practice hard, ” said Drill Platoon participant, sophomore Jonathan Sarabia.
Overall, Galileo’s JROTC was happy with their performance. Galileo senior army instructor, Sarge Hardee, said “I suspect we should’ve of gotten 1st place in all the events, but [I don’t think the judges saw it that way.] I don’t know what exactly they’ve been looking for, but we’re satisfied with the results. We expected to win 1st place, but we took 2nd place. We always do well in competitions, I feel kids did a good job, put their right foot forward. We’ve been in 2nd place all the time for the last 20 years, so it’s been a great run.”
Those who witnessed Galileo’s performance at the competition were all impressed. Senior Waimin Louie, said “It was great to see our school win; the other schools’ teams weren’t as interesting.” Junior Yuyang Zhong added, “This is actually my first RO competition ever, and it was an exciting and nice time. I volunteered [to be the photographer] and I was thrilled to be a part of it because I [was able to see all the different schools and teams.] I think they deserved 1st place, but on the other hand, they can be better.”
The entire competition lasted for about 6 hours, from 8:15 A.M. to 2:45 P.M. To start off the competition, senior Christine Fang sang the national anthem, “The Star-Spangled Banner.” “I was very nervous, but proud that I got to represent our school,” she said. After the national anthem was sung, Guidon was the first team to compete. Following Guidon was Color Guard, Squad Drill, and last but not least, Drill Platoon.
For over 20 years, Galileo has participated in Fall Comp, a competition amongst 7 different SFUSD high schools in different JROTC categories. The schools that come together to compete are Galileo, Washington, Lowell, Lincoln, Balboa, Mission and Burton and the JROTC categories include Guidon, Color Guard, Squad Drill, and Drill Platoon. The judges of the competition are two Marine Recruiters and one army Sergeant. The participants are judged by every command, expression, movement, and position they make because they have to be accurate in order to pass. While Galileo placed 2nd, Washington took the victory and Balboa came in 3rd.
Photo courtesy of Yuyang Z.