One week before CF’s prom, JROTC hosted another gala night of dancing, celebrations

Hallways whirred with anticipation for the Enchanted Garden on April 9, a magical night of prom, but one week before this, the JROTC ball hosted by the Waterloo School District was another gala night, this time dedicated to cadets in training. Slightly different from prom, the ball had no theme, but instead, a formal dress code. 

The dance was hosted at the newly renovated Waterloo Convention Center at Sullivan Brothers Plaza on April 2 from 6 to 11 p.m. Funded, planned and executed by East High School cadets, the event is a culmination of raising over $3,500. Retired Lieutenant Colonel of the U.S. Army Glen P. Keith, who is now the Colonel of the East High School Army JROTC, said, “It was such a beautiful venue, it added a real touch of class to this great event. We could not have had the event without the generous support of the Waterloo Convention Center, Bancroft’s Flowers, Dusky Photography and DJ2GO.”

JROTC stands for Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps. Junior Cohel Gruver said he joined JROTC back in his sophomore year. “At the time there were two other CF cadets, but as of right now, I am the only one,” he said. 

Gruver said JROTC is basically a leadership and future military training class. “It’s not just push-ups and long runs. Cadets learn important life skills as well, a few being first aid, how to make a resume, budgeting and more,” he said. 

Although no recruiters are present during the ceremony, the ball is primarily a tradition arranged to recognize the cadets and all of their hard work. Gruver said it is a time to acknowledge the senior cadets graduating, with the twist being a spectacular dance at the end of the night. “The formal portion of the military ball is a combination of ceremonies the Army has practiced at formal events since the founding of our nation. That is what makes the traditions so unique for the cadets and their guests. No other person will ever experience those traditions unless they are enrolled in JROTC or serve in the military,” Keith said.

Keith said the event is also a celebration of Army traditions. He said it is a one-of-a-kind event that no other school emulates. “The uniqueness of a formal military ball with a receiving line, presentation of colors, Prisoner of War & Missing in Action recognition ceremony, grog bowl ceremony and many more portions of the ball sets this event apart. It is truly the most exclusive event in our high school, and probably the entire Cedar Valley,” he said.

Male cadets must attend the ball in their Class A dress uniform and female cadets must wear their uniform or a dress. Gruver, who took a friend from CF, said they played some hip-hop, pop, retro and slow dance music. “I was very excited, especially to see the whole Trojan Battalion celebrating together,” he said.

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