Adina Mayo – Mustangs Ahead
(LAKEWOOD RANCH, FL)- At 6 p.m. Friday, Jan. 11, the Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (JROTC) is holding its annual Winter Formal at the Lakewood Ranch Golf and Country Club. This dance is the program’s equivalent of Prom.
“Winter Formal is very fun and very formal at the same time, which you don’t really see much at this age,” said senior Kendyl Brahler. “We manage to follow all the rules and procedures, and it’s still a night worth remembering.”
Sophomore Elise West said, “You almost know everyone personally, which makes it really cool.”
Junior Harleigh Wickwire prefers it to the school’s prom.
“I think it’s more enjoyable because we’re one big family,” said Wickwire.
Winter Formal is open only to cadets in the JROTC program, but, with permission, they can bring dates from outside the program or the school.
Sophomore Jace Grayson commented, “You get to interact with all these people you know, and some you don’t, in a formal setting.”
In addition to the cadets and instructors of the battalion, the chosen Teacher and Administrator of the year are invited to attend. These people were chosen through a battalion-wide vote. This year, the Teacher of the Year is LRHS band director Ron Lambert and the Administrator of the Year is Principal Craig Little. New LRHS Principal Dustin Dahlquist is also scheduled to attend.
JROTC instructor Lt. Col. Richard Roller stated, “[Winter Formal] is one the few places that we have where the entire student organization is in one place at one time. In formal military ceremonies, it’s not uncommon to acknowledge leaders that have assisted the growth of the organization. This ties into the military customs and courtesies.”
This year, the JROTC Battalion’s cadet staff is continuing a new tradition of selecting a guest alumnus to invite to the formal, as well.
Roller said, “We did this for the first-time last year and decided to do it again this year. We try to find someone from the school’s program, that has positioned themselves to contribute from a citizenship perspective, that’s a role model.
“The intention is to evolve it into a guest speaker role where they share five minutes of what the program has done for them,” Roller added.