Manteca Unified, Ripon Unified students benefit from JROTC
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.
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.