GOSHEN, Ore. - Hundreds of cadets filed onto the Willamette Leadership Academy field Thursday for the Iron Cadet competition.
"This is when they take all of their skills, all of their endurance, all of their stamina and company pride and bring it to one day," said Lt. Corp. Shannon Cheney.
Cadets completed a series of challenges, first as a company, then as chosen individuals.
"The first sergeants, they're really on you because they want to see what you are capable of," said Alexis Camalich, the top femal corporal. "Once they see that, they know that you can reach it."
Situps, pushups and lunges tested strength.
An obstacle course tested balance, agility and stamina.
Peers and teachers encouraged competitors along the way.
"Everybody needs a place to belong," Cheney said, "and for some kids, this is the place. It's awesome. When they walk back out through that door, they stand taller, they have confidence in their eyes."
"It means I'm not just another girl," Camalich said. "I can do anything the guys here can do."
This year, Logan Delanoy walked away with the high school's iron cadet title.
His mom was all smiles.
"I see so much of a difference in who he is today," she said.
"I'm tired, pretty prideful," Delanoy said. "I just friggin love all my company. They motivated me. They ran through iron company. they did the whole thing. they did absolutely amazing. I'm very proud of each and every one of them."