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Students take on land navigation course

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Posted: Saturday, November 22, 2008 12:00 pm | Updated: 4:58 pm, Wed Aug 15, 2012.

By Iuliana Petre

Killeen Daily Herald

Seventeen-year-old Kathleen Donaldson might be tougher than most people.

Friday morning, standing in an open area on Fort Hood's land navigation course just off Ivy Mountain Road in Killeen while brisk winds sent shivers down most people's spines, Donaldson described the weather as "perfect" for training.

The Shoemaker High School Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps' cadet battalion commander stood ready to scurry over the brush-laden terrain and find the 10 points designated on her map.

"I'm confident we'll do well," Donaldson, a senior, said about her four-person team. She added that her team's goal was to find all 10 points in about an hour – a half-hour less than the total time allotted.

"We plan on taking on a fast pace, and we'll probably heat up by moving quickly," Donaldson said.

Students from Shoemaker, Temple, Killeen and Waco University high schools came out in large numbers to participate in the land navigation event.

Donaldson was one of 35 students participating in the event – the more competitive segment – while more than 210 other students from Shoemaker High School alone completed a slightly simplified event that was less competitive.

"This is fun for them and a big adventure," said retired Army Lt. Col. Lennon Tatum, a JROTC instructor from Shoemaker High School.

Students worked in teams, moving from one point to the next. Each student was given a satellite imagery map, printed using Google Earth software, and a compass.

Aside from finding the points scattered throughout the nearly 2-square-mile course, the land navigation event was geared toward developing students' leadership and team-building skills.

Contact Iuliana Petre at ipetre@kdhnews.com or (254) 501-7469.

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