By Kevin Shanahan
From pushups to navigation and high ropes, 40 area high school Junior ROTC Cadets got outside their comfort zones and enjoyed Northwestern State’s Army ROTC’s inaugural Demon Challenge, Friday, March 3. The cadets spent a fun day competing in a series of events designed to test their fitness, resiliency, and leadership skills. Red River High School’s Air Force Junior ROTC under Col. Mark Duffield brought 13 cadets, one of the largest contingents at the competition. The Bulldogs did well, earning a third-place overall finish.
The day started with cadets completing an orienteering course that took them across the NSU campus. They then went on to test their fitness in a series of timed events such as pull ups, sprint, drag, throw and planking. The fitness testing was assisted by two certified Master Fitness Trainers from the Louisiana Army National Guard, Sergeant Bonnet & Specialist Meshell. Several members of Fort Polk’s A Battery, 5-25 FA, commanded by Captain Tanisha Bethel, graciously took time out from their duties to help with the events. Sergeant First Class Tiffany Gourdon, an NCHS alumna and our local Army recruiter, proctored tests.
After a superb BBQ lunch supplied by NSU ROTC, the high school cadets competed in a two mile ruck march where they raced in two person teams carrying packs with 15lb weights. The teams ended their day on a high note, sampling the Demon Regiment’s high ropes course. The Demon Challenge was a superb opportunity for our area’s young people to test themselves, learn, and grow.
Both Northwestern State University and the university’s Army ROTC program represent a tremendous opportunity for our area’s young people to build a solid future for themselves. The Red River Parish Journal wishes to commend all of the high school students who came out, the NSU cadets, college students themselves not much older than the high school students, and the young soldiers, NCOs and officers who helped make the Demon Challenge a success. Our nation’s young people are capable of so much more than they get credit for. The Red River Parish Journal is looking forward to seeing some of those superb young people building their future at NSU after they finish high school.
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