An abundance of medal-clad students halted in formation, arranged in a platoon at the far side of the gym littered with desks. Standing at attention, the group radiated a sense of unity, a demand for respect. Amid all the misconceptions revolving around ROTC, the program doesn’t falter under a scrutinizing eye. JROTC is more than a connection to the armed forces. In fact, that’s not what it’s founded on at all. According to James M. Hale, Area Ten Commander of ROTC, the program focuses on service. It’s not merely a pipeline to the military; students join for a multitude of reasons. “I didn’t know about it in middle school”, freshman, Mathew Cha, Petty Officer Second Class said. “I figured it out when I was filling out [schedule information]. My sister was like ‘Hey try JROTC for a year.’ and I thought ‘Why not?’”. Ten months later, he plans on pursuing the class for the remainder of his high school career and beyond. “Senior year my goal is [to be] commanding officer, which is the top dog.” Cha said. “I just have to keep pushing, do well and hopefully be recognized. After high school I want to be in the Service Academy, or get a college ROTC scholarship, which is when you go through a college course to actually train to be an officer and once you’re finished you get a job as an officer in the military.” According to Hale, respect for self and community play a role in the overall mission of the program. Without a doubt, service is what the program was built on. “As the area manager, I’m the link between the JROTC units within my area of responsibility and the navy. My area, area ten, is all of Texas east of Uvalde Texas, so I have 57 high schools that I am responsible for that have navy JROTC, and I’m their link back to the navy” JROTC did not meet the required number of students to keep the program running this year but now it is being built to be a stronger program by recruiting incoming freshman who are interested in the different aspects that it has...
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