Get the whole enchilada Friday

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By Kirsten Laskey

The Naval Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps (NJROTC) has a busy schedule of drills, camps, air rifle competitions on top of the regular classes and the community’s support is needed to follow this agenda.

As a result, the NJROTC is hosting an enchilada dinner from 5-8 p.m. Friday at the Los Alamos High School cafeteria.

The menu includes red chile and green chile chicken enchiladas, Mexican rice, pinto beans, homemade carrot cake and brownies, and beverages.

“The food is going to be great,” Gunnery Sgt. Brett Painter said.

The students in the NJROTC can vouch for that because they are the ones who are cooking the meal.

Everyday this week, the students are heading down to the cafeteria to spend some time in the kitchen.

In addition to cooking the food, students are also looking for donations to include in the event’s silent auction.

Students take an active role in the fundraiser because “they feel like they are contributing to the overall program and it gets them involved,” Lt.Cmdr. Wes Shumaker said

The dinner is a tradition for the NJROTC. “It’s been in existence before I got here,” Shumaker said. “It’s been a long-standing tradition ee to host the dinner.”

The proceeds from the dinner will benefit numerous NJROTC programs.

For instance, Shumaker said the money will help students prepare and go to drill meets. It helps cover transportation, lodging, entry fees and other expenses, he explained.

Additionally, the dinner supports the air rifle program for the same type of things.

“We encourage people to come because it costs between $15,000-$20,000 a year to do what we want to do,” Painter said. “To take our shooters to Camp Perry ee take our drill team out of town to events ee it takes a lot of money to run the unit.”

Last year, the dinner raised about $3,000.

Besides the dinner, other fundraisers are held to support the NJROTC. For instance, Shumaker said a Virginia Diner Nut Sale was recently held and raise $650.

The NJROTC teaches students a number of things such as leadership, responsibility, respect and community involvement.

Shumaker said it also teaches young people to respect themselves and their teammates in team activities.

Painter added, “in the classes (we cover) the Constitution, government, physical fitness, nutrition. So it’s a wide variety of subjects to include military science.”

Students compete in several competitions, including drill meets. Shumaker said the drill team competed Saturday at Menzano High School in Albuquerque and earned third place overall, second in color guard inspection, third in arms regulation, second in armed inspection and third in physical fitness. He added they had the highest number of students they have ever taken to a meet.

The NJROTC is not only busy in the fall, but in the summer, too. There are leadership camps, a boot camp and a sailing camp to participate in.

Students seem to really enjoy this program and all the opportunities it provides them as evidenced the enrollment, which is at 74 people and increasing.

“There’s more enthusiasm for the program,” Shumaker said. “The students enjoy it. They enjoy the structure.”

TIckets are $5 in advanced or $6 at the door for students and $7.50 in advance and $8 at the door for adults.

To purchase advanced tickets, call the NJROTC office at 663-2787 or purchase them at Brownell’s Hallmark.