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Opening the door to student opportunities—CVA to begin JROTC program

At its regular meeting on Tuesday, Nov. 12, the Central Valley Board of Education voted to begin taking steps to offer a United States Marine Corps Junior Reserve Officer Training Course (MC JROTC) at Central Valley Academy.

“Students today get such mixed messages. The media and popular culture tell them that they need the latest technology and to live for themselves. That self-focused philosophy can easily drown out the message our schools try to teach, that true success comes when students become responsible and productive members of society,” said CVA Principal Renee Rudd.

Ms. Rudd began looking for ways to reinforce the positive characteristics that will help students be successful as adults. She soon discovered the JROTC program. She sent CVA teacher David Appleton and Guidance Counselor Michelle DelConte as school representatives to visit the Marine Corps training facility at Paris Island, S. Car. They came back impressed with the JROTC emphasis on self-discipline, leadership, honor and integrity.

After further investigation, Ms. Rudd became convinced the program would benefit the entire Central Valley community—students, staff and parents. She presented her idea and the board of education agreed approving to move the program forward.

The next step will be to get CVA approved for the selective program. The nation has 3,000 Army JROTC schools, but in keeping with the Marine Corps tagline—the Few, the Proud, the Marines—there are only 235 Marine JROTC schools.

To qualify, the district will complete a detailed application and then host USMC Major Richard Shafer for an on-site interview and inspection. If Maj. Shafer approves the application, CVA would begin the JROTC program in September 2014.

A curriculum of character preparing for career opportunities

“When people hear JROTC, they might think we are preparing our students to become soldiers,” said Ms. Rudd.

“That is simply not true. This program is not about military tactics and weaponry; it is about developing respect and responsibility. These are character qualities our students can take to college or trade school, to the workplace or to the military.”

The goal will be to offer a four-year program freshman through senior year. Students (known as cadets) would attend one JROTC class each day taught by a certified JROTC instructor. Before and after school cadets would have the chance to participate as members of the drill team and rifle team. These teams would compete against other regional MC JROTC programs in Amsterdam, Utica and Mexico. In addition, cadets would take field trips, attend leadership conferences and community events, and march in parades, while earning elective credit toward graduation.

JROTC would provide cadets with the necessary equipment and uniforms. Interested students and their families would face no cost to participate.

“We are seeking a different pathways for our students to become successful in life after high school. For some it may be college, for others it may be the work world. JROTC offers interested students a different path to prepare them,” said Ms. Rudd.

“In addition, we hope that this message of respect, responsibility, citizenship, pride in oneself and integrity will permeate the culture of CVA and our community.”

Learning more

If approved to host the program, CVA is planning information nights for students and their families. Visit the school website for more details as they become available.