Cadets of the Michigan City High School (MCHS) Marine Corps Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (MCJROTC) were engaged in many holiday-related activities, both in helping the needy and in supporting school holiday events. This included setting-up for “One City, One Sound,” Michigan City Area Schools (MCAS) holiday concert involving all MCAS schools, ushering the large crowd, and cleaning- up afterwards, allowing high school physical education classes and athletics to resume their normal schedule the next day.
Cadets assisted the Salvation Army by doing bell-ringing duties at the Michigan City Walmart on November 29th (“Black Friday”) and organizing food baskets for distribution to the needy on December 14th. They also assisted the local chapter of the Marine Corps League in the Toys for Tots campaign, the collection of new toys to be distributed to underprivileged children. Cadets supported a Christmas party at The Arbors Nursing Home on December 19th.
“Our cadets are trying to live the true meaning of the Christmas season,” said Senior Marine Instructor Major Tom McGrath. “Although many of our cadets come from economically-challenged homes themselves, they take great pride in helping others. It is a demonstration of their true unselfishness.”
Cadet Captain Paul Tobalt, the program’s commanding officer, stated how important community service is to the cadets. “We know that there is always someone who has it worse off than us. Helping out our community is part of what JROTC is all about. This is my fourth year, and we have increased our community service hours every year,” he said. Last school year, the MCHS MCJROTC performed over 3300 hours of community service, and they are on pace to surpass that number for this school year.
Many of the cadets who perform these community service activities are also on the military drill team. They will be practicing over the holiday vacation in preparation for their presentation to the three middle schools on January 22nd, prior to the 8th graders scheduling for their freshman classes at the high school. MCHS is required by the Marine Corps to have at least 100 cadets to maintain the program. Current enrollment is 150. Marine Instructor Master Sergeant Jeff Benak said “We are in good shape numbers-wise, but we can’t afford to be complacent regarding enrollment.”
The drill team’s next competition will be the Chicagoland Drill Meet at the Forest View Education Center in Arlington Heights, IL on February 1st.