JROTC STEM Academy cadets rappel from four story tower in Mobile

Published: Jun. 9, 2022 at 1:13 PM CDT
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MOBILE, Ala. (WALA) - Cadets from the Mobile County Public School System’s JROTC Stem Leadership Academy got the chance to do something that will get anyone’s hearts racing.

JROTC cadets rappelled from a 4-story tower at Fort Whiting Armory in Mobile.

“Cadets are going to learn how to overcome their fear of heights,” said Lieutenant Colonel Barrow

Lieutenant Colonel Barrow said this activity is a big confidence booster for the cadets.

“We’re going to have people crying for their mamas”, he said, “we’ll have to help them get through that fear, but once they go off it’s a big confidence builder for them.”

With that in mind, Lieutenant Colonel Barrow said the cadet’s safety is their number one priority.

“The first thing we do is give a safety briefing because we don’t play with them here,” he said, “second thing is those novices get to go off on a ground platform to get used to that feeling because you’re going from a horizontal to a vertical position.”

Once they are done with instruction and training it’s time to go to the top of the tower and take a leap of faith.

Some cadets were more than ready to go, while others changed their minds last minute and needed a little more time to build up their courage.

“We’re pretty quick about it, we don’t play, we’re very firm. A lot of hands-on to get them out,” said Lieutenant Colonel Barrow, “to get a child to go from here to the end of the tower isn’t always easy.”

Many of the cadets said although they were scared at first, once their feet touched the ground, they couldn’t help but feel proud they overcame their fears.

“Oh, I’m scared of heights so about halfway up I got a little bit nervous, but I just kept talking to myself, thinking about how my mom would act if I was up there thinking about what to do, and I did it for my mom,” said Cadet Avery Davis

“I’m actually terrified of heights, but you know I get up there because you know if I’m scared, I’m going to make other people scared and I want to make other people feel safe,” said Olivia Collier

“I like helping and cheering everybody else on so I want to get there and do what I got to do and encourage everybody else and push them to go down as well,” said Cadet Lichelle Johnson.

“Once you do it the first time, you’re going to want to go again and again and realize it’s not that scary,” said Cadet Kristalyn Ransom.

Rappelling is just one of the activities the cadets had a chance to experience during the six-day JROTC Stem Leadership Academy. The goal is to increase awareness and interest in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.

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