"Cadets must possess integrity, self-discipline, loyalty to the Corps, maturity, and a great deal of confidence."
Page 89, NUCC Cadet Handbook
Cold and dark, the members of CTC 16-4-3 stood in the gutter in front of Alumni Hall. It around 0630 and everyone was already ready to end the day. We were ready, but we were nervous. That day would be an indicator as to how far we had progressed as a platoon since Rook Week. The Rook Performance Challenge is the essential halfway mark of Rookdom when Rooks are tested on every tenet of Rookdom.
"4-3, Fall in," said the Platoon Sergeant from CTC 16-6-3. He was one of the cadre members in charge of us for the day, as we had switched cadre for the day. We were up first on the drill deck. Parent's weekend all over again, except the big leagues. The events that day would bring us to half recognition. We fell into formation on the drill deck with straight faces. We had been training for weeks.
Drill to PT to Room Inspections to Uniform Inspections to Knowledge Exams. Through every event, we proved the quality of our training to that point. All the hours playing remedial changing games. All the hours sweeping and dusting the rooms. All the hours of squaring around the gutters. All the hours of being a rook culminated into this day. Performing well in front of people we didn't know.
At 1500, we were assembled onto the Upper Parade Ground with our company. Both Rook Battalions stood in formation side by side. A voice boomed across the UP, "The Rook Class has earned the following privileges." We had done it. We were halfway there. Squaring in the gutters and silence at chow instantly became a thing of the past. A challenge and nuisance to the incoming Rook Class. It was an incredible feeling. The rest of the night was celebratory. We were told to go catch the hockey game by our cadre, who were more than thrilled to hear of our successes that day.
The Rook Performance Challenge was an exhausting day filled with obstacles that I walked into the day dreading. I was never more nervous than going to bed the night before. Norwich was getting better.