JROTC holds annual cadet ball


Dany T Medhin

Sergeant Major Russell Wilder (second to right) and Colonel Roy McCutcheon (right) lead the front table at the annual JROTC cadet ball at the Spotswood Country Club in 2019.

The JROTC cadet ball is an annual event held at the Spotswood Country Club in Harrisonburg. The head of committee, lieutenant colonel junior Amy Acosta Cruz, has been planning this along with her committee since late November of 2018, though the date was set at the end of May last school year. Organizing the ball comes with a lot of responsibility, time, commitment and stress.

“I’m the head, the chair of the ball committee, and I organize the events that are going to be at the ball. I basically set up the room where the ball will take place. When looking at the whole thing, there’s a lot that goes into it from the program itself to the name tags. Actually going to the country club to agree on the set up of the room, and then there’s getting the DJ’s [and] the food. There is a lot,” Cruz said. “Checking off the people from the program and making sure that they are seated at a table they want and having the number [of people] correct on both sides [of the room] was kind of the most stressful part.”

The ball features a color theme to go along with the formal dress code. Girls generally wear longer dresses with their hair in updos, while the boys come dressed in uniform.

“For themes, we usually do colors for the ball. Last year we did black and white,but this year we decided to go with red, white and blue for the American flag colors, and of course, everyone is in [formal] wear,” Cruz said.

Honor guard commander junior Nayelis Pluma-Ferrer serves as the right hand to committee head Cruz and is very involved with planning the ball. From staying after school to coming in earlier in the morning, there was a large time commitment involved in planning the event.

“The farther you are out, [the less] time is needed to spend, but the closer we get to the ball, like the week of, it can take close to an hour to three [hours],” Pluma-Ferrer said.

Being the right hand comes with a lot of responsibility and stress; trying to please everyone while still making it a fun ball can be quite challenging. One way the committee planned to make the ball more entertaining was through skits they had prepared.

“The most stressful part about planning the ball is probably [organizing] the seating chart. People constantly interfere with that because …something happens between the people that they are coming with, and they have to find somebody else…  Overall just the execution of the ball [is stressful] because obviously you want to make everybody happy,” said Pluma-Ferrer “[One of] my favorite parts would be the skits. We do skits making fun of the seniors that are leaving, and it is fun because we work really hard on those. I think everybody enjoys them,” Pluma Ferrer said.

Another aspect of the JROTC ball includes the annual dance competition, in which girl and a boy representing each grade participate. The dances need to be self choreographed and must follow the theme, this year’s being swing and bachata. Captain senior Nicholaus Delves-Gordon and his partner Major Jennifer represented the senior class in the dance competition.

“It’s my last year, so I just wanted to do it to have fun and do something I had never done before. My partner and I found out a week before the ball [that] we were dancing, so it took us about a week to choreograph and practice two dances,” said Delves-Gordon. “[Out of the two], my favorite would definitely have to be the swing. It was a lot more fast-paced. Honestly, I love dancing and fast-paced movement is what I love the most.”

With having everything from skirts to a dance competition the Harrisonburg high school JROTC program has a unique way of conducting the cadet ball when compared to surrounding schools.

“Having the ball makes us different from a lot of other schools because they don’t have events like this at their schools and we get to spend time together as a Battalion and we’re not in uniform, we’re not training, we’re not doing anything we’re just having fun. Having a formal ball,” said Cruz.