Antonio Lange, 16, said coming from a big school is not always the “X-factor” when it comes to competing in national-level ROTC events, like he did last spring.
“Considering the fact that we were a small-town unit… and to get that far, it felt like a once in a lifetime thing,” he said, adding that there is hope to compete at the national-level in the coming year.
Lockport Township High School’s AFROTC program hosted a golf outing at 11 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 5 at Old Oak Country Club, 14200 S. Parker Rd. in Homer Glen
to raise funds for national-level competition.
Todd Frandsen, coordinator for the fundraiser, said that the idea of holding a golf outing came in an effort to find a fun way to bring different people together.
This year, LTHS has more than 100 cadets who will have the opportunity to compete in local conferences and depending on how students perform, they could reach the 2016 National High School Drill Team Competition in Daytona Beach, Florida.
Last year, LTHS AFROTC cadets participated in a series of regional competitions, with Lange and his dual exhibition rifle partner Noah Frandsen, 16, advancing to the U.S. Air Force National JROTC Drill Championships in Dayton, Ohio, which took place in March.
Noah and Lange earn a No. 1 ranking in the dual exhibition rifle competition and in May, the duo entered the 2015 National High School Drill Team Competition.
Noah said he felt great pride being able to compete at the national championship, noting that the opportunity meant a lot considering he was only a sophomore in high school at the time.
Todd said there were more than 100 kid cadets competing in the championships at Daytona Beach last year. Noah Frandsen and Lange finished in the top half of more than 50 dual rifle teams at the event.
“We know what to expect so we can only up our game moving from here,” Noah Frandsen said, adding that the plan is to team up with Antonio again to see how far they can make it together.
Lange said they’re taking different risks to up the “wow-factor” in hopes of making a return trip to nationals.
A number of students, parents and members of the community were in attendance for AFROTC’s fundraising event. Todd said depending on the academic calendar, school officials are interested in hosting another golf outing.
AFROTC’s fundraiser benefits cadets qualifying to participate in national drill team competitions, and money raised will also support the Gary Sinise Foundation.
“[The golf outing] makes people more aware of what they’re doing in the community,” Todd said, emphasizing that AFROTC is not only committed to serving the people but is also responsive to changes in need.
The organization assists the community in a number of ways by providing cleanup support for the Adopt-A-Highway program, serving as guides at Lockport’s WWII Days and raising funds for groups, such as the VFW, Wounded Warriors and others.
AFROTC’s golf outing was sponsored by a number of organizations, including Benda Manufacturing, Rockwell Automotive, Revere Electric and Kempa Group Realty and more.
If unable to attend the fundraising event and interested in making a donation, contact Todd at firstname.lastname@example.org