Jupiter’s JROTC program typically has drill season from Dec. to March, but because of COVID-19 precautions, the season for the 2020-21 school year was pushed to March through May, reducing the number of competitions as well.
The drill team is a group of marching squads and platoons that usually consist of seven members in each squad who perform routines based on Army drills to compete in regional and state competitions.
The team also consists of color guard and exhibition–color guard being responsible for presenting the flag in a variety of settings and exhibition being responsible for a performance where cadets complete unique tricks and sharp movements with air rifles.
Jupiter’s JROTC drill team is known for being skilled and has qualified for states for more than three years in a row, but because of the pandemic, there will be fewer competitions held this season, with regionals and states not taking place.
“The season is shortened to just three competitions,” Kiera Parker, a Jupiter High sophomore on the drill team, said.
With the change in routine, members of the team now practice Monday through Thursday after school from 2:40 to 4:30 p.m., instead of just Tuesdays and Wednesdays. The team is hoping to increase their practice time as much as they can for a successful win.
Because the season is running during a pandemic, cadets are required to wear face masks and stay socially distanced while marching.
“The marching is not different. No cadet comes into contact with each other during marching, regulations have stayed the same,” Kimberly Owens, a Jupiter High junior who is the drill team commander, said.
Although there are nearly half the amount of cadets on the team compared to previous years, since some students are learning from home, the drill team has more motivation than ever to finish this rare season on a good end, according to team members.
“As the commander of this team, I believe that with the small numbers we can truly have fun and focus on perfecting our movements precisely with each other. We have two great squads that I know if we continue to work hard, will place at our regional competition,” Owens said.