Junior ROTC program at Putnam City West commands attention

The Junior ROTC program has been well-received at Putnam City West and might expand next year to another high school.
BY HENRY DOLIVE Modified: March 20, 2013 at 7:13 pm •  Published: March 21, 2013

The goal, he said, is to develop citizenship, character and leadership among high school students.

“This is a place where they can come and feel safe,” McKinney said. “Here, they can be somebody. Discipline will get better each year.”

“This is an excellent program,” said ninth-grader Dale Robert Heggen, who was physical training leader for his class of about 10 students on a recent Thursday.

“I plan to continue until I graduate.”

McKinney said students have ROTC one class period a day, and spend the rest of the school day in their other course studies and activities. He hopes to add another instructor for the fall semester, which will allow for an enrollment of up to 150 students.

Sense of purpose

Kayla Bishop, a counselor at Putnam City West, is helping steer students to the program.

“The benefits are endless,” she said. “When they walk the halls with their uniforms on, they have a sense of purpose.”

McKinney said he already is seeing changes in the students who came into the program in the fall.

“Our job is to mentor the cadets and teach them leadership skills,” he said. “We help them learn to plan, and learn to be on time.”

McKinney said he insists on students maintaining a C average in all their coursework. Any student who is falling short is required to adhere to a “Poor Academic Performance Battle Drill,” a step-by-step plan to bring up the poor grade.

“A lot of good things happen for students who take part,” Hurst said. “They learn and practice values like service, leadership, responsibility and good citizenship. They experience pride and accomplishment. They get more positive role models added to their lives.”



Background

U.S. Army Junior ROTC Cadet 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.

Online

For more information about U.S. Army Junior ROTC program, go to www.usarmyjrotc.com.

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