HUACHUCA CITY — Tombstone Unified School District recognized a second grader for his outstanding work ethic, applauded the high school JROTC air rifle team for its performance in a Western Regional competition and highlighted other student accomplishments at Wednesday’s board meeting.
Huachuca City Elementary School second-grader Oldemar Castillo was presented with the district’s “Super Student,” award, based on a glowing nomination from his teacher Christina Henry.
“Oldemar (Castillo) is hardworking, selfless and caring,” Henry wrote in her student’s nomination. “He sets an example for his peers to follow and he knows the meaning of effort, responsibility and integrity. He is a model student…”
When introducing Castillo to the board, Huachuca City Principal Kevin Beaman provided the following background about his interests.
“Oldemar’s favorite subject is science and he wants to be an engineer when he grows up,” Beaman said. “He loves Legos, has been involved in karate for three or four years and is an advanced purple belt.”
School Board President Mike Hayhurst presented the second-grader with a medal, gift card and certificate while praising him for his hard work and commitment towards school.
“It’s always a pleasure to meet excellent students like this young man,” Hayhurst said of Castillo. “He not only excels in school, but has an interest in karate and already knows what he wants to do when he grows up. When I see kids like this, I feel our future is in good hands.”
Tombstone High School’s JROTC five-member precision air rifle team of Alainna Barber, Ian Panaghetti, Dakoda Mitchell and twin brothers Xavier and Julian Keeling, placed second in the JROTC Western Regional Rifle meet last weekend.
“The name, ‘Western Regional’ is a bit deceiving, as this is actually the Army JROTC National meet,” said Chief Tom Gross, the rifle team’s instructor. “It’s shot in three different ranges across the country.”
Tombstone shot in Chandler while another group shot in Anniston, Alabama last weekend. The meet’s final portion is next weekend in Camp Perry, Ohio.
Gross said there are 1,709 Army JROTC programs across the nation, and less than 30 teams were invited to the meet.
“We finished the weekend second in the western region and third in the nation, but that could change once the results from the final portion come in,” Gross said. “So for this particular meet, we are waiting on results from the third region to see where we finish nationally.”
If the team finishes in the top five, they will be going to Camp Perry in April.
Gross said this is the team’s first year shooting in the precision class.
“I anticipated taking two or three years to field a competitive precision team, but our shooters put the work in.”
When approached by coaches at the recent meet, Gross said they all expressed surprise that a school as small as Tombstone qualified, especially when they learned Tombstone has an enrollment of 450 students.
“Unlike other sports, there are no size classifications in air rifle,” he said. “We compete against schools that are considered 6A in other sports with enrollments of more than 7,000. The accomplishments of this team cannot be overstated,” Gross said. “People from JROTC programs around the country are talking about us. After this meet there is no doubt in anyone’s mind that Tombstone JROTC belongs in the conversation when it comes to precision air rifle.”
Last year, the Yellowjacket Battalion qualified for the Junior Olympics and CMP (Civilian Marksmanship Program) Nationals in July, finishing first in the state and ninth nationally in the “sporter” competition, Gross said.
“We competed in sporter meets only last year, but this year we have both a sporter and a precision team, and the sporter team is coming along. I anticipate they will qualify for the Junior Olympics,” Gross said. “We have two chances to qualify, one in April in Utah and one in March in Phoenix.”
TUSD Superintendent Robert Devere was not at the meeting because of a conference, so Tombstone High School Principal David Thursby spoke on his behalf.
While providing the board with an update about high school sports, Thursby spoke of wrestler Jacqueline Jacquay who qualified for the state tournament in Prescott this weekend.
Jacquay won the regional championship, holds a 12-1 record and is ranked No. 2 in the state. She won three tournaments and was offered a $17,000 scholarship to attend Indiana Tech for wrestling, Thursby said.
“This is a testament to our coaches and this athlete,” Thursby said.
“Our FFA (Future Farmers of America) competed at the Gila Southern District competition and did very well, with a number of our students finishing first,” Thursby reported.
In other discussions, board members discussed making changes to the district calendar before approving it at the next board meeting.
The next TUSD board meeting is 5:30 p.m., March 10 at Tombstone High School, 1211 N. Yellow Jacket Way, off Highway 80 in Tombstone.