Fransisco Pantoja’s winning form in the solo exhibition category earned him a national championship title at the Air Force Junior ROTC Open Drill Nationals this past weekend in Dayton, Ohio.
“It’s unbelievable,” Pantoja told 22News. “All the time we spent after school, the coach is always on us.”
Francisco and his teammates not only impressed the judges but also their mentors like Major William Kieda at Springfield Central High School. “They’re focused,” Kieda explained. “They’re driven to pursue their higher education or a career.”
They’re the pride of Central High, being recognized by their fellow students for the highest achievements in the school’s more than 60 years of JROTC affiliation.
“It feels awesome, it feels amazing,” Adriana Corcina said. “We walk down the hall and everyone says ‘Champions! Champions!’ It feels great.”
The pride of accomplishment is not just for the moment, but something to build on as they pursue their further goals through hard work and dedication.