DPS Students Experience College Through JROTC Raider Challenge

Jan. 31, 2018
DPS Students Experience College, Learn Teamwork Through JROTC Raider Challenge Competition

Recently, DPS sent a record-number of Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (JROTC) cadets to compete at the University of Wyoming’s Raider Challenge. Held within JROTC programs, the Raider Challenge is conducted throughout the country, and is a physically-demanding athletic competition that tests students’ strength, endurance and teamwork abilities through obstacle courses, a one-rope bridge and many other events.

DPS sent more than 10 teams from across the district, each comprised of six cadets. Cadets overcame personal and team challenges to take home the top honor. For the second year in a row, the overall champion of the event was among the Denver ranks: Abraham Lincoln HIgh School took first place overall with teams from East, North and Kennedy high schools placing in individual events.

“Through the Raider Challenge, our kids learn the life skills of teamwork, personal courage and doing more than they ever thought they were capable of doing,” said Lt. Col. Steve Osterholzer, the director of instruction for Denver’s 10 JROTC programs.

Held outdoors, Raider Challenge prepares students for what they can expect in college with the Army ROTC Ranger Challenge competitions. The competition at the University of Wyoming is the largest Raider competition within a six-state area.

Cadets were exposed to college opportunities through campus tours and interaction with college students. “As a high school student, interacting with college ROTC cadets really helped me see myself in college,” said Johan Zamora, a Junior at East.

“These competitions are extremely demanding,“ said Osterholzer. “Cadets on these teams often train at 6 a.m. several times a week, showing tremendous commitment to their schools and each other. We’re extremely proud of each and every one of them.”

JROTC teaches life skills that prepare cadets for college and career, regardless of their plans after high school. Through their cadet-run program and team competitions, students learn invaluable skills in the areas of leadership, teamwork, time-management, self-discipline and communication.

Denver will host a Raider Challenge March 21 at Lincoln High School.

For more information on JROTC programs available at each school, contact Lt. Col. Steve Osterholzer at