The Gaither High Navy Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps (NJROTC) recently earned the “Most Outstanding Unit in America” award for 2020! This coveted achievement identifies the unit that out-performs all others in a variety of categories such as academic excellence, college placement and scholarships, community support, active program involvement and expertise and competitive excellence.
Lieutenant Commander (LCDR) Jim Stauffer, Gaither’s Senior Naval Science Instructor, is honored his Cadets were selected from more than 600 units across the nation.
"The students pride themselves on working smarter AND harder to be as good as they can be in all areas,” said LCDR Stauffer. “The underlying motivation for their efforts stems from the enjoyment they get in working with their close friends to achieve at the very highest levels. They truly are the best in the nation!"
Gaither NJROTC has been a perennial national powerhouse in multiple categories. They won the Overall State Championship the last three years in Academics, Athletics and Drill, and is the current Overall National Champion in that category.
Gaither NJROTC qualified for Orienteering Nationals the last three years. In the jeopardy-style National Brain Brawl competition, the Academic Team placed in the top five each of the last seven years—even winning the National Academic Challenge two of the last three years. And, at this year’s state event, Gaither finished in first place (out of 56 schools) in 8 out of 13 events!
“The students take great pride in the assignments and challenges that they face each day while demonstrating a work ethic that makes them better individuals,” said Gaither High principal, Thomas Morrill. “We are so fortunate to have three outstanding leaders with great experience in their past naval careers leading our students.”
The three NJROTC instructors at Gaither (Commander James Stauffer, Senior Chief Loney Cason, and Senior Chief Edward Donohue) are all retired senior military leaders and have over 45 years of service to the NJROTC program.
The success of the program goes beyond their competition results. Gaither NJROTC cadets logged more than 8,000 community service hours last school year. The students volunteered for organizations such as Equestrian Rescue, Feeding America, Relay-For-Life and the Special Olympics this past school year—a true testament to their passion for service and commitment to the community.
“The Gaither Cadets clearly enjoy the camaraderie and fellowship that exists within our walls,” said LCDR Stauffer. “They are having too much fun to realize the leadership and problem-solving skills they are developing throughout the competitive process.”
Hillsborough County Schools is so proud of the young adults who have worked extremely hard to better themselves and their teammates, and continually strive to be the very best.
Congratulations to Gaither NJROTC for this prestigious national award!