MICHIGAN CITY — To use a Marine Corps phrase, the Michigan City High School (MCHS) Marine Corps Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (MCJROTC) has started the school year off by “hitting the deck running,” said Sr. Marine Instructor Maj. Thomas McGrath.

The cadets have already done 11 Color Guards and five additional service events in support of MCHS and Michigan City/La Porte County communities. The Color Guards included six football games, the La Porte County Veterans Court Graduation, the 9/11 Memorial Ceremony, the Veterans of Foreign Wars Veteran of the Year Award Dinner and the MCHS Homecoming Parade. The other community service events included the Michigan City Area Schools Back-To-School Rally and the United Way Car Wash.

“Our cadets are very dedicated,” McGrath said. “Our military drill team, which has 26 cadets, is here every morning to practice at 5:45 a.m. Many of them also have part-time jobs, yet they still find the time to support our school and community.”

Master Sgt. Jeff Benak, the Marine instructor, also had high praise for the cadets.

“It takes most students at least a few weeks to get into the swing of things,” he said, “but our cadets were ready to answer the call of service requests from our school and community right off the bat.”

The cadets will continue to support the school in events like all remaining football games and the Halloween night at Ames Field on Oct. 24. MCHS will host a military drill competition on Oct. 26. Nine schools from Indiana and Chicagoland are expected to compete.

“Our goal is to return to the National Marine Championship for the third consecutive year,” McGrath said. “Only 16 schools out of the 250 Marine schools nationally get to go. This first meet will be a good indication of how much progress we have made toward that goal.” The meet is free and is open to the public. Competition starts at 8:30 a.m., completing at about 3 p.m.

MCHS will also host a Veterans Day Ceremony on Nov. 11 at 1:30 p.m. in the school gym. This event, featuring the school band, choir and MCJROTC, is also open to the public. All veterans will be honored. The guest speaker will be Ind. Rep. Pat Boy, D-Michigan City.

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