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MISAWA AIR BASE, JAPAN — April 29, 2010 — Misawa’s Robert D. Edgren High School Air Force Junior Reserve Officers Training Corp academic team won the national 2010 Air Force JROTC Academic Bowl championship, held April 24 at Bowling Air Force Base, Washington D.C
The team represented the first Department of Defense school to compete at the finals and the first DOD school to take first place, beating 15 other JROTC teams in the final round. The bowl is a nationally recognized academic competition, sponsored by the College Option Foundation, and created specifically for students in JROTC programs.
Edgren cadets, Bryan Bancroft, Scott and Monica Cronin and Michael Warden advanced through two phases of online competitions that began last November, in which 350 worldwide JROTC schools initially took a part in.
“We were pretty elated to find out we made it,” said freshman Monica Cronin. “It’s a huge competition, there are so many competitors, and it’s in our national capital. That’s pretty awesome.”
The two phases of online competition challenged cadets on questions based off of their high school curriculum: math, language arts, history and science. At the academic bowl, the team said each round, nine in total, presented progressively more challenging questions while adding current events to the standard curriculum.
“A lot of preparation came from paying extraclose attention in school,” said sophomore cadet Michael Warden.
Edgren’s JROTC program is designed to motivate students to become better citizens and increase leadership, team building and basic military skills. The high school’s JROTC senior aerospace science instructor Ted Ball, a retired Air Force lieutenant colonel, said his cadets’ team building skills were a major factor in winning the competition.
“They worked great together as a team and are a very smart group of kids,” said Mr. Ball, who accompanied them to Washington as their chaperone. “They had strategy sessions for each part of the competition – each cadet specialized in a specific area of expertise.”
Mr. Ball said his high-caliber cadets are an example of how Edgren’s education system and other DoD schools prepare students for their futures.
“The faculty at Edgren High School provides the best education experience, not only for the JROTC cadets, but for all military dependent children here,” said Mr. Ball. “The level of education the students receive gives them a competitive advantage after graduation.”
The cadets said the competition was a positive experience and a benefit from joining their local JROTC program. The occasion was extra special for Monica Cronin because she competed with her brother and junior cadet, Scott.
“After Scott helped Edgren’s team win 6th place in the same finals last year, I saw the academic motivation he returned home with and wanted to be a part of the program,” Monica said.
The cadets said not only were they academically motivated upon their return this year, they arrived to Misawa with a first place trophy in hand, bragging rights of a job well done and a free tour of the nation’s capital.