To Whom It May Concern:
I am writing this letter in response to my recent knowledge of the removal of the JROTC curriculum from Latta High School.
As a parent of two Latta Alumni and former JROTC cadets I was very saddened to hear of this news.
The JROTC program was one of high regards and First Sergeant Curtis Jackson demanded and expected nothing but the best and excellence from all his cadets.
He taught the kids that the program was about more than just putting on the uniform or getting an easy grade. 1st Sgt. Jackson taught the cadets how to truly live out the Cadet Creed.
The Cadet Creed taught them how to conduct themselves in a way that brought credit to their family, country, school and Corps of Cadets. He trained them how to be loyal, patriotic and how to practice good citizenship and patriotism.
The JROTC program Cadet Creed reminded the cadets that they are the future of the United States of America. However, the most important thing it taught them was to seek the mantle of leadership and stand prepared to uphold the constitution and the American way of life.
Many students have gone through this program and still to this day live out the JROTC Creed taught at Latta High School by 1st Sgt Jackson. Sergeant Jessica Evans, a 2014 graduate of Latta High School and former JROTC cadet, is currently serving in the United States Army. No doubt her drive to be Army Strong comes from her mentor, coach and friend. Cadet Margaret Desser who is also a 2015 Latta High School and product of the JROTC program, is a senior at the Citadel, the Military College of South Carolina. She will graduate as a Commissioned Officer in the Navy. She had this to say, “First was a role model.”
Mallory Townsend, another 2016 graduate and former JROTC cadet, accepted a 2016 appointment with Brigadier General Teresa Djuric at Virginia Women’s Institute for Leadership at Mary Baldwin University (the only female cadet corps in the nation) on a 3 year ROTC scholarship under the instruction of 1st Sgt. Jackson. She will also Commission as an Officer in the United States Army upon graduation. All three of these young ladies attribute their path of leadership to the Latta High School JROTC program. They still keep in contact with 1st Sgt. Jackson and seek out his advice and consider him a lifelong mentor and friend.
Needless to say, the halls of Latta High School won’t be the same, no more students in uniforms or hearing him say to fellow staff, students and cadets “You’re a Great American.”
1st Sgt. Jackson started at Latta High School in August 2002, in his sixteen years there he sent six students to college on ROTC scholarships, two basketball scholarships and two track scholarships.
When he wasn’t commanding his cadets in the classroom, he was head coach for the Varsity Girls Basketball and Boys and Girls Track teams. Sgt. Evans, Cadet Desser and Cadet Townsend all played on the 2014 Class 1A Girls State Championship team. They also won back to back Lower State titles in 2014 and 2015. Coach Jackson was named to the Hall of fame this year.
A heartfelt thank you to him for his devotion, time and support of the Latta High School JROTC program and athletic program. I know all of his former cadets will make him proud as they continue to live out the Cadet Creed that he instilled into them each and every day.
He truly fulfilled The Army JROTC Mission and motivated our young people to be better citizens.
P.O. Box 457
Little Rock, SC 29567
To Whom It May Concern: