The Magnolia High School Navy Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (NJROTC) traveled to the Texas State All Services Air Rifle Competition, in San Antonio, Texas, Dec. 7, bringing home top honors.
NJROTC won the Governors Cup for having the Top Navy School in Texas and sophomore Alyssa Grimes won second place overall in individual scoring.
"I go try my hardest," Grimes said, "and what happens, happens, but when I heard I got second, I was just so happy."
When asked how she prepared, she replied, "A lot of practice. It was on Tuesdays and Thursdays, from right after school until around 4:30."
"We mostly shot at targets," said Grimes, "and we'll practice each position, shooting each target. The positions are kneeling, standing and prone. Most days, the whole team practiced together in the ROTC building."
"There is a lot of competition – like, friendly competition between us," Grimes added, "and they kind of push me to try to do better. My friend, she's getting kind of good, so I'm like, 'Oh, I need to get better.'"
Grimes said that the work it takes is sometimes a grind, but she has decided to push through it.
"I did think about giving up, many times, but I like it, so I'll keep doing it." Grimes says, "You just have to try your hardest and have fun, mainly. If you don't have fun, there's not a point to it. It's a lot of fun going to competitions with friends and stuff."
She added that the competition can be stressful, especially when you are pushing for recognition among the best.
"It's pretty nerve-wracking." Grimes said. "You see all these people who could be better than you – and most of them are, and it just freaks you out."
When asked how she reacted to receiving the Governors Cup, Grimes replied, "I was just so happy. It was just so awesome, because we got it from our rival school, and they had to give it to us, so it was kind of cool. The training and time spent was totally worth it."
Grimes said that despite her love for the NJROTC program and her recent accolades, she doesn't think a career in the military is for her, but won't completely rule it out.
"I like ROTC, but I don't think I'd go into the military," she said. "Air rifle is definitely my favorite part of ROTC as a whole and I guess if all else fails I could go into the military and be a sniper or something."
The plaque will be given to Principal Jeff Springer and the Governors Cup will reside in the Magnolia High School's trophy case.