Life lessons through drill

Military School Cadet Shaking Hands with Authority Figure

World drill champ teaches life lessons through drill

A decade ago, a young Sam Gozo watched a drill performance as a middle school student, prompting him to sign up for his school’s JROTC program. The next several years of his life were fueled by his growing passion for fitness and competitive drill until he eventually landed himself on top of the drill world as the 2014 Isis Drill Champion.

Now a part of Drill- Team Dynamics, Inc., Gozo spent two days at St. John’s Military School helping the cadets hone their skills.

“It’s been really fun. I’ve learned a lot,” said Cadet Xander Tamblyn, son of Sara Smith of Aurora, Colo. and Jeffrey Tamblyn of Parker, Colo. “I already signed up for the drill team.”

Cadet Tamblyn said the most important lesson he’s learned is to just keep going and not let bad experiences keep you down.

Gozo dropped his rifle at the end of his routine during the 2015 World Championship competition and was unseated as world champ by nine points.

“A drop is (a deduction of) 25 points,” explained the 6th grader. “But he didn’t let it hold him back.”

“These guys brought a whole new level of energy,” said Gozo. “I love drill for what it does for kids of this age not just as a sport but it brings a certain level of structure, of discipline. It gives them something to fight for and that’s what’s awesome in drill.”

Sgt. 1st Class Geronimo Rivera has been the SJMS Drill Team Instructor since 1999 and brought in the drill guru to generate new interest and renew interest in the campus drill team.

“Our team does very well, but we sort of hit a plateau so it was time to bring in someone with a lot of experience and new ideas,” said Rivera. “I’m very pleased with the results. He’s been able to affirm what we’ve been doing well and identify what we can take to the next level.”

The SJMS Drill Team has performed at a number of local and regional venues- mainly half time shows.

“Some of the cadets have already signed up for the drill team and some are still deciding,” said Rivera. “Between the new cadets and the cadets coming back, I think we’re going to do great things this year.”