JROTC Cadets excel in leadership and community service

Published 11:25 pm Thursday, February 22, 2024

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Central High School in Hayneville supports a Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (JROTC) program that has had a remarkable year under the guidance of Master Sergeant (MSG) Bruce Reeves and Sergeant First Class (SFC) Michael Johnson. 

The young men and women involved in the program have been challenged and elevated through an exciting array of events and activities. From a leadership camp in July to the Annual Military Ball in February, the cadets have participated in various experiences that have helped them develop discipline, confidence, and motivation. 

Archie Curtis, principal of Central High School, spoke highly of the program, highlighting the success the students and instructors have had over the school year. 

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“Our JROTC program has been a source of pride for our school and community,” Curtis said. “The cadets have shown dedication, leadership, and an inspiring commitment to community service. We are grateful for their contributions and look forward to their continued success.” 

One of the significant events for JROTC was the Robotics Truck, which visited the school in August and allowed the cadets to learn more about the future of robotics and how it can cultivate growth in the program.

In addition, the cadets have engaged in community service, such as conducting a successful food drive that provided over 800 canned goods to people experiencing homelessness in the Lowndes County area. 

They also participated in a joint cleanup with the Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA), helping to make their school environment more presentable. 

The cadets’ participation in the Joint Leadership Development Conference (JLDC) in Mobile was another significant event that gave them valuable leadership lessons and preparedness for their future endeavors. 

Along with these programs, the cadets also took the School Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (SASVAB), a test that challenged them on a range of subjects. 

The program’s Annual Veterans Day was held in November to honor the veterans who fought and died for our country, and several branches of the military participated, including the Marines, Army National Guard, Army, and Air National Guard. The cadets put in countless hours to make the program a success. 

During the Annual Military Ball on Feb. 3, the cadets dressed in their formal attire or uniform and socialized with one another. 

At this event, awards were given to cadets whom their peers selected, and the program has also been fortunate to receive a $10,000 donation from Mr. Jim Bridges, the CEO of Software Engineering Corporation. Along with the donation, scholarships of $1,500 each were awarded to three students: Shamirria Rudolph, Shar’dajai Harris and Gabrielle Briggins. 

Overall, the Central Hayneville High School JROTC Cadets have been very active, and the program has instilled discipline, leadership, and teamwork skills in these young men and women, preparing them for future endeavors. 

Samita Jeter, Lowndes County Public Schools Superintendent, expanded on how the JROTC program has benefited the students of not only the school, but the entire county. 

“It is our hope that participating in Army JROTC will improve student attendance, reduce suspensions, and increase graduation rates,” Jeter said. “This is a long-standing program that is proven to build good character and could lead to acquiring college scholarships. Our JROTC instructors are serious, top-notch individuals who focus on developing strong leaders.”