National champion girls’ JROTC squad from GRC honored by Kentucky Senate

Published 10:20 am Monday, January 29, 2024

In early November, George Rogers Clark High School’s girls JROTC squad – known as the Lady Long Knives – were recognized locally for their first place finish at the 2023 JROTC Raider Competition National Championships at Fort Knox. 

On Thursday, January 25th, they were recognized at the state level. 

As a part of Senate Resolution 59 passed at Thursday’s meeting on the Senate floor of the Kentucky State Capitol building in Frankfort, the squad made up of fourteen cadets from various ages was honored and recognized for their accomplishments. 

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“Therefore, be it resolved by the Senate of the General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Kentucky, the Senate does hereby congratulate and honor the Lady Long Knives of George Rogers Clark High School Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps on their first place win in the All-Services Female Division at the JROTC National Raider Challenge Championship,” stated Section 1 of the Resolution. 

As a part of the competition, the Lady Knives partook in various feats of strength and endurance at the competition that included over 2,000 teams nationwide. Specifically, they were the one-rope bridge, 5K team race, Cross Country Rescue (CCR), Physical Team Test (PTT), and Gauntlet. 

Among other challenges, the 5K team race required traversing different terrain, while the one-rope bridge – a very technical event – involved cadets crossing a water obstacle with a rope while having to avoid touching the water. 

According to senior captain Bailey Wood, it was the Lady Knives’ mental strength that had the most significant impact. 

“The mental strength is more important than the physical,” Wood said. “Even though we have the physical capabilities, we all have to be able to rely on each other for motivation. I know there were multiple times throughout the 5K, throughout the Gauntlet, throughout the Cross County Rescue [and] everything else that we did, we [were] all looking to each other and pulling strength from each other.” 

On Thursday, as guests of Senator Greg Elkins, the Lady Knives were accompanied by GRC JROTC program leaders Lt. Colonel Thomas Krupp, Master Sergeant Larry Lee, GRC Principal Luke Toy and Clark County Public Schools Superintendent Dustin Howard. 

After a day with the JROTC program that included a Q&A session, tour of the Capitol building, pictures, and more, Elkins offered the resolution and spoke highly of all involved. 

“It was my honor and my privilege to get to spend a good part of the day with them, to introduce them to the Senate Floor, to have that Resolution, and a permanent record of the Senate,” Elkins said. “It gave me just a great sense of pride for our community and our school and all in Clark County. We should celebrate this.” 

Perhaps the best was saved for last. After the resolution was read, the cadets received a standing ovation for their accomplishments. 

Other senators – such as Julia Raque Adams – even left their seats to take time to shake hands and address each. 

“When they stood and gave them a standing ovation, it just made my heart smell with pride,” Elkins added. 

Having also been honored at the State Capitol once before, Lt. Colonel Krupp said that it’s an honor to see the GRC JROTC program recognized. He also believes the future will bring even deeper appreciation. 

“They understand it, but I think later – when they can look back on it and really kind of have some time to think about the importance of it – it’ll really hit home,” Krupp said. “We’re just super proud of what these girls have done.”