As the school year draws to an end, I’d like to take this time to bring attention to one of the programs offered at Dillon High School. The JROTC program. I have heard of this program but didn’t realize the impact it can have on the students. I have two involved this year; one for both semesters and the other for the last semester.
Until the first event I attended I saw it as just another class, but it’s so much more. Every event I’ve been to, whether physically challenging drills or fancy arms exhibitions, I’ve met students from different schools in the state and have found they all have a very mature attitude and demeanor about them. I’ve never heard disrespect or cursing at any of these events. Teamwork and sportsmanship have always been at the forefront. I wish I could say the same about sporting events I’ve at- tended.
The program emphasizes responsibility, accountability, citizenship, integrity, patriotism and leadership, as reflected by their Cadet Creed. It’s not simply a classroom; it’s life in the real world.
They are constantly being pushed to exceed their own personal best either in the classroom, field, competition, community or even in areas of improving their minds, and strengthening their bodies. They are given leadership positions as they earn them and the respect that goes with these positions. And they are taught respect for our flag and the uniform they wear.
The first time they put on the uniform they seem a bit awkward, learning to tie a tie, shuffling around like they’re not quite sure what to make of it. Now when the uniform goes on there is an air of confidence and readiness mingled with pride.
And I watch and listen with pride as they recite the Cadet’s Creed:
“I am an Army Junior ROTC Cadet. I will always conduct myself to bring credit to my family, country, school and the Corps of Cadets. I am loyal and patriotic. I am the future of the United States of America.
I do not lie, cheat or steal and will always be accountable for my actions and deeds. I will always practice good citizenship and patriotism. I will work hard to improve my mind and strengthen my body.
I will seek the mantle of leadership and stand prepared to uphold the Constitution and the American way of life. May God grant me the strength to always live by this creed.”
These kids will be spending their summer practicing what they learned and trying to improve on it for the following year.
They don’t have time, nor or they interested in, Tide-Pod challenges, or any of the other things that bored teenagers feel led to do.
The skills honed in JROTC will serve them a lifetime, whether or not the military is their future goal because: (they are) “the future of the United States of America.”
I would also like to give a shout out to Col. Houser and Sgt. Gray, whose names have become household words around here.
Thank you for all that you do for these young men and women.
I’m looking forward to whatever your plans are for next year.
1050 Erica Street, Dillon, SC 29536