‘Dining In’ with Punahou JROTC cadets

Dining In is a formal military ceremony for members of a company, which includes a dinner and other activities that foster camaraderie. The event includes traditions that often puts attendees out of their comfort zone. It also extends to high school JROTC programs, such as one this month at Punahou School. 

“(Gigging) derives from a military tradition of calling people out for improper uniform wear and infractions of the ‘rules of the mess.’ Cadets found guilty are ‘punished’ by having to do ridiculous acts, such as singing, dancing and anything that the mess will find amusing,” high school student Irina Quinn said. Cadet Battalion Commander and Punahou School senior Zander Manuel announces “punishments” of cadets in improper uniform wear. 
As part of the “gigging” tradition, high schoolers Bert Kobayashi (left) and Christian Rodrigez (right) had to slow dance to “My Heart Will Go On” by Céline Dion. It was Rodrigez’s “punishment” for not being in proper uniform.
The grog bowl is another military tradition unique to the Dining In celebration. The bowl consists of various and unusual beverages and foods that resemble the military’s past and some challenges cadets face. This year’s grog bowl was a mix of kale, monster drinks, gatorade, gummies and a dirty sock. Everyone in the Battalion must sip from the bowl and share a toast for the many accomplishments made over the years.
“Tradition is very important to the military,” high school senior Luke Chueng said. “They allow those who served before us to be respected by the generation they sought to protect. Each tradition resembles something that the soldiers have to go through during their journey.” The table pictured here includes objects representing aspects of war. For example, the slice of lemon on the bread plate symbolizes the bitter fate of the missing.
On the floor, high school students Connor MacPherson and Bert Kobayashi leg wrestling. It is one of many ways companies bond. This tradition entertains the surrounding crowd of cadets, who take photos and laugh at the two students.