“Present Arms!” Senior Crew Roberts yells, and in perfect precision, the team performs.
Four Color Guard members open the lady lions volleyball game by honoring our nation’s flag while and state’s flag, dressed in white-collared shirts decorated with ribbons, crisp pleated pants, and freshly polished loafers. They take the rifles from off their shoulder, and hold the rifle in front of them with precision movement. The Texas Flag bearer lowers the flag and the “National Anthem” begins to play after the Texas flag is lowered.
The act of honoring America with a color guard team has remained prominent in schools across the country. However, Grace Prep had lacked this component of patriotism for many years. Fortunately, a few years ago Roberts took the initiative and established our first Color Guard program.
“I’ve always wanted to serve my country, and I noticed our school did not have an ROTC, so I did my research to come up with a plan,” said Roberts.
First Roberts had to get approval from the school and a support team together to help him make his idea a reality.
“I brought the idea of forming a JROTC team to Mr. Smith [Dean of Students], but considering that most Color Guard teams are state funded, it was hard to get the funds for it,” said Color Guard Commander Roberts. “However, we came to a compromise that allowed us to have a similar unit to JROTC, which is called Color Guard. From there, the school was able to help fund the program with rifles, flags, equipment, and uniforms.”
Once the administration approved the club in 2017, Color Guard hit the ground running with the help of Sergeant Enrique Nava, parent, who helped teach them flag etiquette and purchased all of their flags.
“I was excited to help and began assisting in researching various vendors and ultimately purchasing the required supplies to include the flags, rifles, and additional supplies,” said Sgt. Nava.
Roberts did have parental and adult support, but it was mainly Crew who taught himself most of the information by ordering an Airforce Academy Manual on the advice of Captain Charles Curreri about ROTC and flag ettiquette and learning it.
Now, two years later, the team has expanded recruiting age to 7th and 8th grade students as well as 9th through 12th grade students. The team usually has six to nine members, and four performers at a time.
The desire to give recognition to America through an extracurricular activity was Roberts’ purpose in starting the club here. Roberts was able to recruit seniors Holton Hester, Naamah McGee, and Riley Wambsganss to Color Guard as well.
“Not only did I join to support my country, but I also wanted to support my friend Crew, said Senior Holton Hester, member since 2017.“They are searching for students interested in patriotism, teamwork, and honor.”
Passion for one’s country is not the only thing Color Guard is searching for.
“Being humble and a team player, are characteristics for a good Color Guard member,” said Senior Naamah McGee, who has been a member since the club began.
This Color Guard team has gained notice and respect. Much of that is due to Crew’s leadership.
“Crew is a natural leader and has the capacity to lead without losing sight of the importance of rendering proper respect to the flag,” said Sgt. Nava.
As they head into the future, Roberts plans to instill his authoritative traits into a person he believes has the capability of taking the group on next year after he graduates, as well as tributing our country in a courteous manner.