It was a year of impressive performances at parades, drill team competitions and athletic halftime exhibitions throughout South Dakota that allowed the Flandreau Indian School Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps (FIS-JROTC) to be where they are right now.
And that is preparing to compete in the National High School Drill Team Championships in Daytona Beach, Florida from April 30-May 2. The FIS team will be one of the 150 competing for the title of champion.
MSG Christopher Van Briesen, U.S. Army (Ret) and Cadet Lt. Col. Verle D. Pipestem lead the FIS Thunderbirds into this national recognition with the honor of being an all-Native squad representing Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming.
Eleven members of the elective and voluntary program will be making the trip to Florida to represent the hard work, discipline and achievements the FIS squad have reflected throughout the past year.
“In a historic boarding school, away from home and the pluses and minuses of reservation life, the achievements of this team have been a great inspiration to FIS students and staff as they face serious and complex challenges,” Chief School Administrator Betty Belkham said.