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Holmes Student Accepted Into Elite ROTC Program

A Holmes High School student has been accepted to the elite Senior Leadership Capstone Camp at the Missouri Military Academy in Mexico, Missouri.

Steven Gregory, a junior member of the Holmes Marine Corps JROTC program, was one of 100 selected from the 32,000 Marinie Corps JROTC members nationwide to attend the camp next month.

"It's a huge accomplishment for me, especially being a kid from Covington, to get to travel across the country to exercise my leadership and use what I have learned in ROTC," said Gregory, who will be a senior next year. "I hope to gain good experience that will help make me a better leader, and I hope to grow both physically and mentally. I hope that what I learn there I will be able to bring back and help improve our ROTC program at Holmes."

Maj. Paul Wilson, the instructor of the Holmes ROTC program, said the purpose of the camp is to evaluate the cadets in leadership, team building, and physical fitness.

The cadets had to be juniors who will be returning for their senior year in the MCJROTC program. Instructors at each high school could submit any qualified cadet. The five regional directors then made their recommendations to the Director of MCJROTC at Quantico Virginia. No school was guaranteed a slot for any of their students. The program strictly selects those most qualified to attend, Maj. Wilson said.

Holmes Principal Scott Hornblower said it is an honor that Gregory is being recognized as one of the best ROTC students in the nation.

“We are very proud of Steven for his selection to participate in this leadership opportunity,’’ Hornblower said. “He is very deserving of this honor as he demonstrates leadership qualities at Holmes High School every day.’’

Gregory’s leadership abilities stood out when a regional director, Col. James Lenard, was on the Holmes campus during his annual visit in April.

Then, Gregory and other cadets were working with the eighth grade students from Holmes Middle School, introducing them to ROTC in hopes of increasing participation in the program.

Gregory was teaching middle schoolers the basics of drill, physical fitness events, and professional conduct when Col. Lenard noticed him.

“The Colonel was impressed with the ease in which Steven could gain the attention of the eighth graders, explain concepts and actions, and then direct and supervise the MCJROTC Cadets in their actions,’’ Maj. Wilson said.  Lenard then asked Wilson if he was going to nominate Gregory for the camp. He did.

The cadets will participate in exercises and challenges designed to enhance their abilities to interact with cadets from other units, from other backgrounds, and from across the nation, he said.

“He is the type of Cadet the MCJROTC Program desires,’’ Maj. Wilson said.

-Staff report

Photo: Steven Gregory (provided)