It was an gala event Saturday night at Beaumont Ranch as hundreds of Alvarado High School JROTC, their student guests and school and community leaders gathered for the sixth annual JROTC Military Ball.

The event was held in the giant ballroom at Beaumont Ranch, located near Grandview.

Students, decked out in their dress uniforms and others in their finest formal wear, were greeted by a reception line composed of personalities including Dr. and Mrs. Chester Juroska, Mayor Tom Durington, Mr. and Mrs. David Jusiewicz, owners of the Alvarado House Restaurant, Mr. and Mrs. Kenneth Estes, AHS principal and keynote speaker, Capt. Paul M. Bishop, U.S. Army, and son of Alvarado coach and Mrs. Darryl Bishop.

Posting of the Colors was done by Color Guard Commander, Cadet Sgt. Maj.  Jake Rodriguez, Pvt. Jeremy Arrendondo, 1Lt. Michael Land, SFC Ryan Thompson and Pvt. Ethan Frye, followed by the singing of the National Anthem, sung by cadet Pvt. Destany Place.

Battalion Commander, cadet Lt. Col. Kelly Brown extended the welcome to the crowd, introducing program personalities and special guests. She led the group in a toast to the president of the United States, the State of Texas, Alvarado board of trustees, Alvarado High School, and special guests of the ball.

Capt. Bishop spoke to the group concerning “Being a Hero”, citing the life lesson taught by a U.S. Army Medal of Honor recipient, Sammy L. Davis, an artillery soldier.

“Had I not known who he was, I would have just thought him to be an ordinary man,” Bishop told the audience, noting that genuine heroes call no attention to themselves, but just quietly serve, and live by a code which includes loyalty, courage, respect and many other Army ideals. He also noted that values by which heroes live are “pathways to keep us on line.”

“We need to look within ourselves, believe in ourselves and see our potential,” he advised.

“I thought this was a tremendous event,” said the mayor. “I am impressed with the caliber of students we have in the JROTC and Alvarado High School.”

Dr. Juroska expressed his excitement over the event and the JROTC of Alvarado High School.

“It will always be a great source of satisfaction and accomplishment to me to think that the JROTC was established in Alvarado High School during my watch,” he said. “This organization is a jewel in the crown of the Alvarado ISD.”

Students who are involved in JROTC are quick to point out some of the benefits of belonging to such an organization – like citizenship, discipline, and tools and inspiration to plan and prepare for their life’s calling.

“At first, I didn’t really expect the JROTC to really help me all that much,” admitted AHS senior Brittany Pinkston. “But it has helped me in so many ways, like helping me to find out who I am. I have learned so many skills including leadership, discipline and also learning things like CPR (cardio pulmonary resuscitation).”

Pinkston plans to enter Baylor University and prepare to become a neo-natal nurse.

Brandi Dunnigan, sophomore, believes her experience in JROTC elevated her study skills.

“I really like it,” she said. “The experience has taught me about the importance of putting maximum effort into studies and basically anything I do.”

Alvarado High School junior Andy Mills is in his second year in JROTC and said the experience has given him the inspiration to plan for his life.

“I’m learning discipline in JROTC that will help me to be prepared for the marines,” he said. “Hopefully I can put my time in and then when I get out I want to go into the restaurant business.”

Tera Steadman, a junior at AHS believes the two years she has spent in JROTC has taught her many life skills.

“It’s been a wonderful experience, and I feel that it has made me a more dedicated person and I’m so glad for the many ways Col. Spencer has taught us about knowing our purpose in life,” she said. “Learning principles of good citizenship, how to handle ourselves in certain situations, how to react to those situations and just basically getting set up for the real world and give back to the community are just a few of the things I’ve received from JROTC.”

Steadman plans to attend University of North Texas in Denton and eventually attend the Baylor School of Dentistry in Dallas and become a dentist.

“I plan to join the Marines so they can pay for it,” she said.

After cadet Lt. Col. Brown made a presentation to Capt. Bishop, followed by the retiring of the Colors and the playing of Taps, a dance was held.

Other guests included in the event were: AISD Trustee Mr. and Mrs. Michael Percifield, Cris Ratliff, AHS counselors Carla Edwards and Wanda Scott, Mark Albertson, Emma Easter, Elizabeth, cadet Katie Turner and 2Lt. Robert Hines, Coach and Mrs. Darryl Bishop, Coach and Mrs. Junior Rayburne, Lester K. Reed and Hayden Reed, Mr. and Mrs. Edward Smith, Margaret Alexander, Mr. and Mrs. Clint Davis, Mr. and Mrs. John Percifield, Jean Sager, Mr. and Mrs. Richard Brown, Sgt. and Mrs. Christopher Palmer, Sp. James Brown and AHS yearbook representative Marcy Allen.

E-mail Paul at paul.gauntt@wninews.com.