On March 1, 150 Van Horn High School Army JROTC cadets and their dates gathered in the main ballroom of the Ararat Shrine Temple in Kansas City for the annual Military Ball, which is the culminating assessment for the cadet etiquette training. This year's ball was a joint military event, as it included cadets and cadre from the U.S. Marine Corps JROTC program at Ruskin High School.
The evening was a black tie event for the cadets; gentlemen in their dress uniforms, ladies in their formal ball gowns. The theme focused on remembering the service and sacrifice of those service members who were/are prisoners of war or missing in action.
The receiving line included the host commander, Cadet Lt. Col. Larissa McCarty battalion commander of the Van Horn Falcon Battalion for SY 13-14, Patrick Layden, principal at Van Horn, Cadet Command Sgt. Major Chase Anderson, the senior noncommissioned officer for the Falcon Battalion, along with Cadet Major Desmond Warren, Cadet Sgt. Major Jiamyiah Jordan, cadet leaders of the Ruskin High School MCJROTC program, and Jesse Rivers, principal at Ruskin.
After the posting of the national colors by the joint Color Guard (led by Cadet Dominique Chavez) and several special military style traditional toasts and salutes to the nation, the gentlemen seated the ladies and the meal was served.
Guests were entertained by a slide show presentation by Cadet Nico Tarantola (Falcon Battalion Public Affairs Officer) and others working under his direction to showcase the many service activities, color guard events, drill presentations, summer camp adventures, and other elements of the JROTC experience.
During the traditional cake ceremony, the youngest members present, Cadet Ian Johnson for the Army and Cadet Dymon Blewett for the Marines, along with the most senior unit members present, Cadet McCarty for the Army and Cadet Warren for the Marines, used an Army saber to ceremoniously cut the cakes. The three cakes were decorated to symbolize the Army JROTC and the Marine JROTC components and one in red-white-blue to symbolize the one-team, “jointness” of today's modern military force.
During dessert, those present watched the crowning ceremony for the Military Ball Royal Court. Each nominated couple was introduced after passing under the Arch of Steel formed by the combined Falcon and Eagle saber team, which was commanded by Cadet Raymond Kistner. Representing the freshman cadets were Cadet Zeb Lityma and Cadet Destiny Williamson; the sophomore cadets were Cadet Logan Putthoff and Cadet Cheyenne Engle; the junior cadets were Cadet Josh Rameriz and Cadet Racquel Marino-Hill; and the senior cadets were Cadet Chase Anderson and Cadet Larissa McCarty.
Due to the deteriorating weather conditions, it was necessary to alter the Ball's time line. After all the formalities of the evening, the actual dance itself was postponed to later this spring, and will be an “old school sock hop.” With all things considered, the cadets and guests enjoyed a successful event.