JC Breakfast Optimist Club shows support to JCHS JROTC program

Written by the JC Breakfast Optimist Club

JUNCTION CITY, Kan. — LTC (retired) Richard Hodgson, SFC (retired) Ted Ehlers, Cadet Mahkayla Cole, Blue Jay Battalion Commander Cadet LTC Grant Shrader, and SSG Jack Kalen from the Junction City High School JROTC program shared about the high school’s Raider Team, which recently won first place in the Raiders National Competition in Medina, Georgia, with the JC Breakfast Optimist Club.

Cadet LTC Shrader explained that “there are several events in a Raiders’ meet. Some of the events include a 5k team obstacle course with rucksacks; climbing over walls and through wooded areas; flipping tires and a one rope river bridge.” LTC Hodgson stated that “the cadets have to be strong physically and mentally to do well.”

SGT Ehlers, the Raiders Team coach, told the Optimists that he “wasn’t sure what kind of Raider Team he would have this year. Our numbers were down during summer training, and we were concerned about the cadets’ fitness and skill level at the beginning of the school year.” He also said that “the program is about more than competing and learning about the military, but ours is a life skills course to help students learn to be quality citizens, learn about careers and grow. That is why I do what I do as their teacher and coach.”

Pictured left to right: SFC Ted Ehlers, Cadet LTC Grant Shrader, LTC Richard Hodgson, Cadet SSG Jack Kalen, JC Breakfast Optimist Club President Don Manley, and Cadet Major Mahkayla Cole.

Cadel Cole shared that she recently applied and was selected to be a part of a choir that recently performed at Carnegie Hall in New York City. The participants came from all over the world. “It was an amazing experience,” she said.

LTC Hodgson helped the Optimist Club members understand that the JROTC program at Junction City High School encourages students to be well-rounded people who will positively impact their school, community, and around the world. The JC Breakfast Optimist Club donated $200 to the JCHS JROTC program.