JROTC continues to bring in awards

Published 8:18 pm Tuesday, February 17, 2015

By Taylor Bush

The Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (JROTC) is a highly respected program at Bainbridge High School. The BHS JROTC teaches students about the United States Armed Forces, specializing in Air Force, and stresses the importance of being an exemplary US citizen. The instructors help the JROTC members get an understanding of what it means to be in the United States Military by simulating many military norms such as uniforms, ranks, and drills.
Lieutenant Colonel Dave Stewart and Senior Master Sergeant Scott Morehouse are the instructors of the JROTC program.
Lt. Col. Stewart served as a pilot in the US Air Force for 25 years and has spent the last five years teaching high school students.
He teaches Aviation History, Aviation, Science of Flight, and the five BHS JROTC courses. SMSgt Morehouse has spent 21 years in active duty military service and five years teaching technical training and professional development courses. SMSgt Morehouse is a new teacher at BHS this year and instructs Aerospace Science and Leadership Education and Drill.
“We have a great time getting involved with the students, teaching them about leadership and drill,” says SMSgt Morehouse. These two men have shaped BHS JROTC into a thriving community of driven students and best described their work by saying “it is our job to create better citizens.”
A major focus of the JROTC program is teaching the students Drill. All JROTC students learn Drill and must demonstrate the procedures. However, to become a member of the Drill Team, students must march for the instructors and be graded on their abilities. The Drill Team of 20 students has competed in two Drill Meets this year.
On September 27, 2014, the team competed in Lowndes County and received many awards. These awards included first place in Armed Regulation Drill, first place Colorgaurd, third place in Unarmed Exhibition, two Commander Awards, an Individual Drill award, and first place overall! At the Valdosta Blazer Invitational Drill Meet held on November 1, the team received first place Colorguard and third place in Armed Regulation Drill.
The team put in hard work multiple days a week in preparation, practicing for two hours after school. Those practices paid off when the team did such an outstanding job at both meets. Congratulations, Drill Team!
All JROTC students are participating in a year-round fundraiser. The members carry cases of chocolate bars which are sold for $1.00 each. The profit from the chocolate sales help pay for the Drill Meets. Ascots, gloves, flag poles, and other items necessary for the meets are available to the students thanks to their sales.
BHS JROTC has high expectations for the students involved in the program. Once becoming a member, the students receive a rank and uniform. By meeting GPA requirements, completing volunteer hours, participating in JROTC events and taking JROTC classes, the rank of a student will climb higher.
There are fifteen possible student rankings which provides goals for the students to reach for.
The uniforms that the JROTC program provides for students are paid for by the US Air Force. The students wear their uniforms every Wednesday when the instructors implement uniform inspections, or Open Ranks. Any student of BHS could testify to how sharp the students look in their uniforms. Many JROTC students believe the uniforms help them feel like “a part of something bigger than themselves.”
Lt Col Stewart explains, “JROTC gives students an idea of what the military is like. They may not pursue a job in the military, but that does not matter to us [BHS JROTC instructors] as long as the kids understand what it would be like if they did.”
The BHS JROTC has been a very fruitful program for the students involved. 70% of BHS JROTC graduates have entered into the military at some point after high school. Scholarships are also offered exclusively to JROTC seniors. These scholarships are funded by DCBOE and the US Air Force. To help the community, the members have completed 671 service hours during this school year alone!
The accumulated service hours are sent to US Air Force Headquarters with the BHS JROTC yearly report. BHS hopes that Headquarters will be just as impressed with the program as the Bainbridge community.
Lt. Col. Stewart wishes to offer the Bainbridge community the services of the JROTC in any way it is needed. Any who would like these services are welcome to call the JROTC phone directly at 229-248-2268.

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