Local students take on physical fitness challenge

By: Maria Allard | Warren Weekly | Published November 2, 2018

 Junior Kelvin Norman, sophomore Allison Schienle, junior Sam Kremhelmer and sophomore Ashra Chowdhury do the airlift team challenge by trying to get the ball on a stand during the U.S. Army Challenge Oct. 19 at Center Line High School.

Junior Kelvin Norman, sophomore Allison Schienle, junior Sam Kremhelmer and sophomore Ashra Chowdhury do the airlift team challenge by trying to get the ball on a stand during the U.S. Army Challenge Oct. 19 at Center Line High School.

Photo by Donna Agusti

CENTER LINE — Approximately 300 high school students had the opportunity to demonstrate their physical capabilities and team-building skills when Center Line High School hosted the U.S. Army Challenge in the K-Hall gymnasium Oct. 19.

While the participating students were members of the school’s Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps program, the event was open to all students. Many participants also were in the school’s Health and Human Service Academy and came from Center Line, Warren Woods Tower, Lakeview, Fitzgerald and Lincoln high schools. The schools are part of the Southwest Macomb Technical Education Consortium, which offers career technical education programs.

The high school challenge was based on science, technology, engineering and mathematics, or STEM, and integrated teamwork and strategies. The U.S. Army Challenge promoted physical fitness and team-building skills, and encouraged students to realize their leadership potential.

The JROTC students organized the challenge. Overseeing the event were CLHS Senior Army Instructor Sgt. Marvin Dials and JROTC Instructor Sgt. Horace Pruitt — both U.S. Army veterans. There are about 135 JROTC students, and junior Alexandria Ploniciak is the public affairs officer.

The U.S. Army Challenge featured an obstacle course that had a fitness relay, an airlift competition in which team members had to collectively balance a weighted ball together, a boardwalk exercise and a rock climbing wall. The students also did pushups, situps, jumping jacks and more.

CLHS senior Gaige Schienle was one of the event participants, and said he liked the boardwalk activity best.

“You need great communication skills in order to have teamwork,” he said. “If you don’t have the communication skills, the team is going to fail.”

The JROTC is a program offered to high schools that teaches students character education, student achievement, wellness, leadership and diversity. It is offered in a cooperative effort between the U.S. Army and the high schools.

The CLHS students meet from 6 to 7 a.m. Mondays through Thursdays at the school for drill practice. Outside of school, there is time for drill competitions, staff camp events and the annual Dining Out event, held toward the end of the school year.

CLHS senior Syeda Jamal, who aspires to be a pediatrician, is the JROTC second person in command.

“JROTC has given me leadership life skills I would never have achieved,” she said. “I am involved in so many things in this school.”

Lt. Col. and senior Jersey Flowers is the battalion commander. She is in the law enforcement class at CLHS, and said JROTC has been a truly rewarding experience.

“I like how it’s our own community within the school,” she said. “It’s our own little family. It’s really nice. JROTC creates a solid relationship between the cadets and the instructors.”

She believes the U.S. Army Challenge was a hit with all the students.

“I really think they loved it,” she said. “I like getting the classes involved.”

Upon high school graduation, Flowers plans to enlist in the U.S. Navy with the goal of being a military police officer.

Several members from local U.S. Army recruiting offices also were in attendance so students could learn about scholarships and career opportunities with the military that include law, cybersecurity, engineering, financial management and medicine.