The NJROTC unit at Zion-Benton Township High School has won many awards and recognitions but this year they took the top honor. The Z-BTHS unit was named the most outstanding unit the nation by the Navy League.
“We were shocked when we got the news we were selected,” said Cmdr. Steve Schulte.
This is a prestigious honor, over 600 schools with NJROTC units compete for these awards. To earn this award, each unit is evaluated in a number of areas.
How they’re evaluated
Schulte explained the unit is evaluated by the Navy all year long. There is an annual on-site inspection, where they look at the cadets, the administration, the finance records, the school. “We have a drill team and rifle team and they look at how they perform nationally. And we take a big annual academic test.”.
Schulte said they evaluated first by the Area 3 manager who chooses the top district unit. “I must submit an end of year report in March detailing community service, accomplishments, school events. The area manager chooses the outstanding school and for the third consecutive year it was Z-BTHS.”
Schulte said he must then do another submission which is sent to Pensacola, Fla. The Navy League looks over all the submissions and selects the top three units in the nation, ranking them 1-2-3.
What this honor means
Schulte said the honor reflects on more than just the cadets. “It’s a great accomplishment for the whole school. We wouldn’t have it without the support of the school administration and the whole community.”
On a personal note, Cmdr. Schulte said it is really humbling. “I am really happy for the cadets. They take so much pride in it and especially the juniors and seniors who have bought into the program for three for four years. They put a lot of time in and that is not easy in high school. There are so many things to distract them. They give up quite a bit to do it.”