‘It’s like a family’: JROTC pushes cadets to challenge themselves

WILL SUITER Staff Writer

   We have all seen them at some point: walking around campus in a pressed uniform, lined up perfectly in the sun, or doing their drills with incredible synchronization.

  The program has been in existence since Branham opened in 1959, with the goal of preparing students for a potential future in the military.

  “ROTC’s purpose is to develop leadership potential, character, and to groom cadets into better citizens” said senior Heather Follo, an ROTC cadet.

  “A lot of students do not get the chance to be pushed into uncomfortable situations” Senior Marine Instructor Steve Mobley says, talking about the benefits of the ROTC program. “You have to crawl before you can walk, and this program gives students that chance to do that. It provides structure, builds character, and gives kids who are interested in going into the military a head start because it already teaches them the drills and other things they will need to know.”

  ROTC can be taken at Branham as an alternative to a traditional P.E. course, as the program involves much physical exercise. The students enrolled in this program go on runs together, and do strength training exercise like push-ups and sit-ups.

  In addition to taking ROTC as a P.E. alternative, students take the course for its intrinsic benefits and life lessons. Heather says she enrolled in ROTC because she was “already interested in the military, and so [she] wanted to learn more,” and to develop discipline.

  “The instructors are all retired Marines, and they have no problem being straightforward,” says Heather. “If they don’t like something you do, they’ll tell you. If you ask them for advice, they get right to the point. It’s really helpful.”

  Joined by developing their characters alongside each other, the students in ROTC are close-knit.

  “Everyone is so close in the class.” Heather said. “It’s like a family.”

  Interested in joining the ROTC? Be sure to register for the course when time comes to sign up for next year’s classes in the spring of 2017.

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