Paranormal Potluck

The JROTC Game Night Potluck


Hannah Klippel, Reporter

This past Friday before Halloween, a usually quiet corner of the school came alive with paranormal activity. In the dark hallways of the gymnasium wing, all manner of skeletons, witches, and ghouls feasted and frolicked into the night.

At the center of these festivities lay the cause of the chaos: Junior ROTC Cadets, Cadet Command Sergeant Major Conor Gawlik and First Lieutenant Yuneidi Mota-Trinidad, the program’s Mr., and Mrs. JROTC.

At least once every nine weeks, the JROTC program hosts a game night for their cadets, a short afterschool lock-in with food and games.

The responsibility of planning these activities fall not to the program instructors, but to the elected Mr. and Mrs. Cadets.

“We’re a student-led program,” Cadet Mota said. “Everything starts with an idea, and then that idea is broken into details. Those details get sent to Staff, and we have them make an OPORD—an Operating Order—and they take that, and they break those specific details into more specifics.”

JROTC Staff is the group of cadets that form the upper leadership of JROTC, headed by the Battalion Commander, Cadet Lieutenant Colonel Skyler Freeman, and the Executive Officer, Cadet Major Isabel Martin.

Each member of staff has one of five specific jobs, called shops, and each plays a major part in planning most of JROTC’s events.

“[This event] didn’t take as much paperwork as usual,” Cadet First Lieutenant Parker Bourns said. “Only three pages.”

As the JROTC S3 lead, Cadet Bourns oversees all training and scheduling for the program, and writes the OPORDs for all the events.

According to Cadet Bourns, the usual number is six pages, front and back, and doesn’t include the emails sent back-and-forth between the staff shops, the instructors, Mr. & Mrs. JROTC, and the company commanders that lead the cadets in class.

“We had to start planning two-three weeks in advance,” Mota said.

In accordance with this time of year, this game night was Halloween themed.

“We’re going to have a costume contest, and Halloween decorations,” Cadet Gawlik said. “We’re gonna watch scary movies and eat food.”

Along with movies and board games in the JROTC room, the gyms were also open, where volleyball, table tennis, and dodgeball were open all night. The night opened at 5 p.m. and carried on past 9 p.m. The menu featured homemade spaghetti, charcuterie boards, fresh fruit, baked desserts, and grilled hotdogs and hamburgers.

The feature movie was Coraline, and shortly after all the cadets gathered to compete in a costume contest, won by freshman cadet, Private Emma Tremont.

“It’s really fun,” Cadet Gawlik said. “It’s really a team-building experience for the entire battalion.”

However, the cadets are not the only people limited to the program’s events.

“As long as you have an escort from a cadet,” Gawlik said, “then anyone can come.”

The next game night is planned to be in early January.