Back to Schools

Local JROTC programs offer advantages for students

Students learn about responsibility, leadership

Email Article Print Article Share on Facebook Share on Reddit Share on StumbleUpon

Students entering area high schools this year might want to consider adding a class that teaches citizenry, accountability, teamwork and discipline and can also serve to help students avoid peer pressure - not to mention it looks amazing on a college application or resume.

The powerful class in question? The Junior Reserve Officers' Training Corps (JROTC).

JROTC is a federal program that was founded in 1916 to help develop high school students into leaders in both the military and in everyday society. The program is offered as an elective for eligible students between ninth- and twelfth- grades and led by retired military officers, warrant officers and non-commissioned officers. Typically, the JROTC elective counts toward a full class credit, made up of a 0.5 civics and 0.5 physical education credit.

Within the Clover Park School District, Lakes High School offers Army JROTC and Clover Park High School has Air Force JROTC.

"Our whole mission is to build better citizens," said Lt. Col. Gary Roberts, Clover Park's senior Aerospace Science instructor. "Every year we have about 50 kids that stay in the program for all four years."

"They are taught to be good followers and leaders, so it is a continual growth pattern that leaves each student well-rounded and prepared for the world at large," he continued.

Rest assured, even if your school does not have its own JROTC program, neighboring schools will often allow students to attend classes through a partnership as approved by the principals and JROTC instructors.

For instance, cadet Alec Lewis, 16, attends Army JROTC classes at Rogers High School in the Puyallup School District despite being home-schooled outside the district. The Rogers High School program is better known as the Ram Battalion and is the only JROTC program left in the state of Washington that has the privilege of calling itself an Honor Unit with Distinction, the highest honor a JROTC program can receive.

"A misconception is that you owe time if you do the program," said Lewis. "But that's only for ROTC in college. This is really just a class. You can always drop it if you really don't like it."

However, while entering the military after high school is not mandatory, about one third of JROTC cadets do just that and, with a letter from their commander, they are allowed to enlist three pay grades higher than normal, as an E-3.

Yet another third go onto college, often to continue on with ROTC, which can provide lots of money through scholarships. The remaining 33 percent choose to enter the workforce with valuable skills that set them apart from their peers.

"I would definitely recommend that they give it a shot," Lewis advised. "Even after only a year, I have a completely different outlook. I used to be kind of lazy and now I love the sense of accomplishment I get when I work hard. It has changed me."

Comments for "Local JROTC programs offer advantages for students"

Comments for this article are currently closed.