FROM LEFT TO RIGHT: left to right; Daniel Kim, Natalie Dekker, Joshua Yoon, Joel Sojan. The Valencia High School JROTC team stands with their third place trophy at the national competition.

Valencia JROTC wins third place at nationals

The Valencia High School Air Force Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps finished in third place at a national competition in June.

The CA-782 team, which consists of four primary members and alternates from Valencia, West Ranch and Academy of the Canyons but is run out of VHS, were recognized as one of the best teams in the nation on June 23, at the AFJROTC Academic Bowl Catholic University in Washington, D.C.

More than 300 JROTC teams competed throughout the school year to earn a place at nationals, but only 16 teams made it to the national finals for 2019.

During the competition, the Santa Clarita team competed against all the other teams in a Jeopardy style competition, challenging their minds and knowledge of academic materials, according to Chris Bricker, the ROTC instructor at VHS.

The questions for the competition were a mix of JROTC curriculum as well as English, math and science questions in the event level of the competition, according to officials. A few questions about current events are also included — focusing on national and international news, particularly international relations, politics, business and science.

At the championship, teams compete in a minimum of 10 rounds of competition using buzzers in a “college bowl” game.

“The team worked extremely hard throughout and came up with amazing results to place at the national level,” Bricker said.

The cadets from Santa Clarita were either juniors or sophomores in high schools, and no seniors or freshmen were allowed to participate. The cadets from Santa Clarita included: Daniel Kim, Natalie Dekker, Joshua Yoon and Joel Sojan.

In addition to being at the competition the cadets were also given the opportunity to tour the Washington, D.C., area. All travel costs, including airfare, ground fare and baggage was covered by the United States Air Force.

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