Man­teca Uni­fied, Ripon Uni­fied stu­dents ben­e­fit from JROTC

Manteca Bulletin - - Opinion -

Nearly two decades ago, Modesto City Schools had a chance to be part of the Ju­nior Re­serve Of­fi­cers’ Train­ing (JROTC) en­deavor that has a long-wait­ing list of schools wait­ing to par­tic­i­pate. The ma­jor­ity of the school board killed the pro­posal with one mem­ber con­tend­ing they were against a para-mil­i­tary or­ga­ni­za­tion on their cam­puses. An­other im­plied the JROTC was noth­ing more than a re­cruit­ing tool for the mil­i­tary.

Based on data pro­vided by the Man­teca High JROTC lead­er­ship at the time there were more foot­ball play­ers than JROTC cadets choos­ing a mil­i­tary ca­reer af­ter high school. It’s amaz­ing Modesto trus­tees didn’t jet­ti­son their ath­letic pro­grams.

The JROTC pro­gram with more than 310,000 high school stu­dent par­tic­i­pants in any given year at 1,700 high schools across the coun­try is one of the most suc­cess­ful youth pro­grams in the coun­try as well as one of the most mis­un­der­stood.

The con­gres­sion­ally man­dated pro­gram fo­cuses on the youth-ori­en­tated mis­sion of “Mo­ti­vat­ing young peo­ple to be bet­ter cit­i­zens.”

They learn a myr­iad of dis­ci­plines such as team­work, lead­er­ship, per­sonal re­spon­si­bil­ity, char­ac­ter ed­u­ca­tion, ser­vice, phys­i­cal well-be­ing, and com­mit­ment. JROTC pro­grams pro­vide a sense of be­long­ing and a source of pride for cadets. In one sense, they are no dif­fer­ent than the ba­sic ob­jec­tives of other ex­tra-cur­ric­u­lar ac­tiv­i­ties in­clud­ing ath­let­ics.

The com­mu­nity ser­vice endeavors of JROTC pro­grams at Man­teca, Ripon, East Union, We­ston Ranch, and Lathrop high schools are nu­mer­ous.

This week, as an ex­am­ple, the East Union High JROTC was out in force help­ing place and re­trieve some of the 2,400 flags that are part of the Man­teca cam­ber of Com­merce’s Flags Over Man­teca pro­gram,

This Satur­day East Union High will host other JROTC units from through­out the area in friendly com­pe­ti­tion that highlights drills and phys­i­cal chal­lenges re­ly­ing on team­work.

The com­mu­ni­ties served by Man­teca Uni­fied and Ripon Uni­fied school dis­tricts are for­tu­nate to have elected boards of trus­tees and ad­min­is­tra­tions who un­der­stand the ef­fec­tive­ness of JROTC and how the pro­grams they of­fer have a big im­pact on the ed­u­ca­tion of those stu­dents who opt to be cadets.

Photos con­trib­uted

TOP PHOTO: East Union High JROTC cadets line up be­fore dawn Satur­day morn­ing to help place flags along Man­teca’s streets to honor our veter­ans. BOT­TOM PHOTO: Cadet Vir­ginia Ard, an East Union High ju­nior, salutes the flag af­ter putting it in place.

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