On Saturday in Salemburg, NC Tarheel ChalleNGe Academy cadets participated in a drill competition with the three competing teams placing either gold, silver, or bronze.
The March 15 exhibition gave the 139 cadets the opportunity to demonstrate for their families and friends all the skills that they have acquired since beginning the program. For many this was a step closer to graduation, and after the competition the cadets quickly dispersed to go with their families for a few hours to catch up and grab a bite to eat.
Team one, which was the Lady Diamonds, carried a red flag, and was comprised of the female cadets. Team one placed in third place, and received the Bronze. The other two teams were the male cadets. Team two, known as the Airborne team, carried a yellow flag and placed first, receiving the gold. Team three, the Rangers, carried a blue flag and placed second, receiving the silver.
Each group performed both a standard drill and a fancy drill exhibition for the large crowd of supporters.
“Standard drill is your standard Army movements,” said program coordinator Melvin Williamson in a telephone interview on Monday.
“Fancy drill is the hoopla, playing to the crowd,” explained Williamson. “This is their fancy dancing and singing.” During the fancy drill the cadets practiced dancing style moves, many changes in direction, and different configurations and patterns on the field.
Most of the cadences were standard, he said, but the cadets put their own twists on them to make them fit with their movements during the fancy drill portions of each demonstration. Williams said that the cadres teach the cadets the basics of the cadences, which are similar to those that he remembered back when he went to basic training years ago.
The drill exhibition was originally supposed to be in January, but the foul weather put the event on hold. The groups were judged by David Alexander, Gary Warren, and Marion Sutton and was also video taped and photographed for the students by the school. The students will be able to see the event on a disc at the end of the year.
“At the end of the class the disc will include graduation,” added Williamson. He said that the students get the discs at the end of the year instead of a yearbook like other schools.
Graduation for the NC Tarheel ChalleNGe Academy cadets will be on June 13 this year.
Emily M. Hobbs can be reached at 910-592-8137 ext. 122 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.