Spoto ROTC First Hillsborough County School To Compete At National Championship

Members of the Spoto High School JROTC team celebrate after winning a chance to advance to the National Academic, Athletic and Drill Championship held at the U.S. Naval Air Station in Pensacola later this month. The team qualified after meeting stiff competition from a number of the other twenty-two schools competing.

Spoto High faculty, staff, teachers and students were please with the recent success of the school’s JROTC program, which has become the first from Hillsborough County to advance to the National Championship held at the U.S. Naval Air Station in Pensacola, on Saturday, April 13 and Sunday, April 14.

The event will bring together twenty-four teams from various areas in the United States, Europe, Japan and Guam.  There are approximately 650 Navy Units worldwide.

According to Spoto High School Senior Naval Science Instructor and NJROTC Unit Commander Stephen Nesthus, the 55 member NJROTC Competition Team, selected out of the program’s 130-member roster, qualified to move on to the Navy National Academic, Athletic and Drill Championship after placing third at the State Championship held in March.

“This is the first time in history that a Hillsborough County JROTC has “qualified” for the National Championship,”  Nesthus proudly said. “It was an unbelievably exciting meet as the team started very strong, but met some stiff competition throughout the day from a number of the other twenty-two schools competing.”

The State competition, included Personnel Inspection (entire team); 100-Question Academic Test (10 members for State; 15 for Nationals); Drill (Unarmed Basic, Armed Basic, Unarmed Exhibition, Armed Exhibition and Color Guard); and Athletics (Sit-Ups, Push-Ups, 100m and 220m Relay).

Nesthus said that in the end and, only a few points behind, the Spartans picked up the necessary points during the 10 x 220 Meter Relay, to pull ahead of Winter Park High School, beating them by only 22 points out of a possible 5700 making the way for the team to become one of the top three to advance.

“The kids are pumped,”  he said, adding that the team hoped for, but did not expect to do anywhere near what they did this year, while simply amazed most, including the NJROTC Program Office (Naval Education and Training Command/Naval Service Training Command), which was both very happy and excited about Spoto, a newcomer, making it to this national competition. 

School principal Phillip Carr was also proud of the students and spoke highly of the relatively new school’s  recent success.

“Things are going very well for us,” Carr said. “Our biggest achievement was earning an “A” grade from the state, as we showed awesome improvement of our previous “D” grade.

Carr also mentioned a number of other successful programs, such as Film Production and Pharmacy as well as  Fashion Academy, which has received National Accreditation.

For more information about Spoto High school, please visit www.sdhc.k12.fl.us.