There was a time when the understanding of high school JROTC programs was limited to “the kids in the uniforms.”
Years ago, many schools didn’t have a terribly robust JROTC program, so few knew students who participated.
The programs offered at Pisgah and Tuscola high schools, however, showcase the variety of offerings — and opportunities — available through the programs.
At both high schools, students in JROTC are getting a crash course in way more than just a path to leadership in the military.
They are building physical fitness and training in rifle and marching drills, sure, but they’re also pushed to excel in their academic pursuits and develop leadership skills that many of their classmates won’t have a chance to instill for years to come, if ever.
This year’s group of JROTC students rose above and beyond many of their peers from across the state, a testament both to the students’ dedication and the exceptional quality of the programs behind them.
Pisgah High School’s cadets brought home four wins out of four major athletic, drill and academic meets they participated in, winning out over 40 other high schools across a wide spectrum of competitions.
Tuscola High School earned a rating of “exceeds expectations” on their overall unit assessment, with additional designations that placed them in the top 2 percent of JROTC programs in the world.
Nearly 900 JROTC programs worldwide are compared against each other for these assessments.
Beyond the personal benefits the students receive — leadership skills, physical and mental discipline and rigorous academic training, to name a few — there’s also a major financial incentive for achievement.
Several cadets from both schools have secured major scholarships in the past several years, paying for most if not all of their college experience thanks to their JROTC training.
Pisgah’s Senior Instructor Commander Michael Weaver and Tuscola’s JROTC directors Senior Master Sgt. Steven Robertson and Major David Clontz are to be commended for the programs they’ve built at their respective schools.
It takes great dedication and vision, with a healthy dose of commitment from students, to build programs of this caliber, and the young leaders they’ve brought up through the program will no doubt have a marked impact on the Haywood County community and beyond as they graduate and move on to bigger, more ambitious goals.