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Dozens of Junior ROTC members from Person High School ditched their Army fatigues on Saturday night, trading them in for elegant dresses, suits and tuxedos.
The Rocket Battalion’s third annual Military Ball was a busy night of celebration and fellowship for the cadets and their families.
More than 150 people turned out for the event, which filled the Homestead Steakhouse’s Festival House.
Roxboro Fire Lt. David Reed, the parent of one of the cadets, talked to the students about finding their passion in life.
“If it’s serving in the military or becoming a doctor or a lawyer, find out what your passion is. Have that motivation for your passion,” Reed said during his keynote address.
Reed was familiar with his topic. He spent several years trying to land a position as a paid firefighter before that effort paid off. Today he has become one of the leaders in the Roxboro department.
Battalion members and their faculty leaders recognized the 12 seniors who will be ending their stint as JROTC cadets as graduation draws near. Each senior was recognized individually as they paraded across the floor to greet faculty advisor First Sgt. Belissa Anthony and Sgt. Major Raymond Myers. Many of the cadets addressed the crowd in brief remarks explaining what they had gained from their JROTC experience. Several cadets said they plan to continue serving in ROTC in college, or enter the military directly after high school.
Anthony brought the event with her to Person High School from a previous position in Georgia, where she served, at one time, as a military recruiter.
She said the ball is an opportunity for students to socialize outside the classroom, furthering friendships forged in the training and discipline that are part of the JROTC regimen.
“The first year, we had 75 people. Last year we had 135. This year we have 154, so we are growing,” Anthony told the crowd.
Following the formal program, the cadets hit the dance floor for the remainder of the night, showing off their best moves to the crowd of mostly students who remained.