OHS MCJROTC hosts annual birthday ball


Makayla Jennings, staff writer

MCJROTC has been around at Oxford High school for 26 years, however at the start of the 2022-2023 school year, MCJROTC was said to be stripped from OHS due to the lack of people needed to continue the program. 

Yubo Song, Unit Commanding officer of the MCJROTC, sees it as a great honor to continue this organization at Oxford High School, including the annual Birthday Ball, hosted every November by the MCJROTC.

“The ball is not just about us, it’s a Marine Corps tradition. Celebrating the Marine Corps is on our curriculum and it is also something meaningful that you do for the kids and the community,” Song says. “It’s to remember the Marines and other branches of the military that serve this country or have served and people who have died making a sacrifice for our country. Especially a huge thank you to the supporters. They are the reason why this program is still here and why we are still trying so hard to keep it.” 

Freshman Prashna Tamang is a member of the MCJROTC who was saddened by the news about the program. 

“When I first heard that MCJROTC was on the brink of losing its program, I was taken aback. We were just a little short under the required number of students needed to keep this program still running, and I was so surprised and happy that we exceeded that after getting a zero period. A good amount of students joined. MCJROTC is a great program with great opportunities for volunteer work, events, and becoming a better you. We were able to move forward with plans such as the ball,” Tamang says. 

There is a lot of work that goes into preparing for the Birthday Ball. 

“We start planning in August when the school starts,” Song remarks. “This is a letter of instruction from the Marine Corps headquarters each year across the nation about how the main theme of the ball each year will be. Early September we start drafting all the files, letters and all the admin work. In October we arranged practices, but this year we were not able to practice through the fall break so we had a really intense practice schedule. Then we gather any materials needed, assign what people will say and then put everybody together for rehearsal. The coordinator of the cake, food and the venue is done by our own cadets and the Oxford Charger booster club. Since I have been doing the ceremony itself, it is the same each year but the guest of honor is mostly different.” 

The ball consists of many different aspects. 

“Social hour, which is like a time for everyone to get prepared for the ceremony itself,” Song explains. “The guest of honor this year is a Colonel who retired years ago and a leader in a local law enforcement agency. So that’s the first part of this ball. And the second part is our ceremony itself, which has the color guard sword detail and a cake to celebrate the birthday itself. During the cake cutting ceremony I’ll cut the cake then pass it to the guests of honor. He will eat it first and then the oldest cadet in our program will be given the cake. He will eat a cake and he will pass to the youngest cadet in our program and she will eat a cake. And this whole process means that the oldest is taking care of the youngest, which means everyone takes care of each other. And also we will have my speech as a unit commanding officer then the guest of honor will give a speech. At the end there is a formal dinner.” 

This creates a sense of community among the program.

“When you’re in MCJROTC you’re immediately part of such a wonderful family and I am so glad to be a part of it,” Tamang says. “The ball brought everyone together for a night of collaboration, celebration and honoring. MCJROTC has volunteered 952 hours since last November which is another big way we help build community. There was a lot of teamwork put forth to plan and set this event.”