MICHIGAN CITY — While many Americans were beaching, barbecuing or watching fireworks during Independence Day week, the cadets of the Michigan City High School (MCHS) Marine Corps Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (MCJROTC) were honoring the Nation by participating in two patriotic events.
They carried an oversized flag in the Michigan City Patriotic Parade on June 29 with the help of the Michigan City Police Department summer campers, and they also marched in the La Porte Independence Day Parade on July 4. Additionally in June, the cadets provided the Color Guard for the Indiana Volunteer Firefighters Association convention at the Blue Chip Casino in Michigan City and assisted the Salvation Army in a fundraiser.
“This time of year is of course a big vacation period," said Senior Marine Instructor Maj. Tom McGrath. "I admire our cadets for their unselfishness to participate in events that remind us that our country’s freedom is not something that we should take for granted.”
Master Sgt. Jeff Benak, the Marine instructor, said, “Many people today say that kids don’t appreciate the sacrifices made by those who fought and died for our country. They need to look at our cadets and the number of public affairs events in which they participate, reminding everyone of the great country in which we live.”
Last school year, MCHS cadets participated in 45 events which involved their Color Guard. Additionally, they were involved with 68 different community service activities.
Cadets have been working over the summer to improve their military drill skills for the upcoming year. Four cadets will be attending a drill camp at Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas, from July 7-13.
“Our goal is to not only qualify for the Marine National Championship as we have done in the last two years, but to win it,” McGrath said.
The camp, to include the round-trip flight, will not cost MCHS or the cadets anything. It is completely funded by the Marine Corps. Additionally, three more cadets will attend a Senior Leadership Camp in Boswell, Pennsylvania from July 21 to 28. Similarly, this camp is also fully funded by the Marine Corps.
The capstone event for the cadets’ summer activities will be to assist in the preparation and running of the Back-To-School Rally on Aug. 8. This is an opportunity for Michigan City Area School students to obtain free school supplies donated by generous stores in Michigan City