JROTC offered on campus


Zach Duncan

JROTC students work out on the track. JROTC classes are offered to students for the first time this year.

Students who have ever considered joining the Air Force, or other armed forces, can receive almost a full Air Force experience in the Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corp (JROTC) program. JROTC is a program for those with interest in joining the Air Force and those who want to experience something similar while still in high school.

Lieutenant Colonel Walt Gagajewski, a retired member of the Air Force, is really excited about teaching the program this year.

“I taught in the Air Force and enjoyed it quite a bit when I retired,” Gagajewski said. “I wanted to teach and stay connected to the military. JROTC allows me to do both.”

Learning how to work together and gain respect of fellow classmates, JROTC students feel the experience in the program is very beneficial.

“I was an intelligence officer, so I spent 14 years overseas in Europe and Asia,” Gagajewski said. “I had a lot of great experiences and worked with a lot of great people.”

The benefits someone can gain in taking JROTC include getting a scholarship from the Air Force Academy and other universities with ROTC programs.

Most students that attend JROTC join the Air Force when they graduate high school.

“The JROTC program affords extracurricular activities and enhances the ability in the real world,” Assistant Principal Larry Lewis said. “The program gives golden opportunities and applies a better background for the students. There is no finer education out there than joining the military. Taking military education classes in high school gives students a leg up in the real world.”

Not only is the program fun for the students, but for the teachers also. They enjoy working with the students and watching them grow up to be leaders of their generation.

“I enjoy interacting with the students,” Gagajewski said. “It is always great to see students learn a difficult drill move or a complex topic. It’s fun to watch the students grow into leaders,” Gagajewski said.

JROTC students learn several intense and complicated drill moves from their instructors.

Students in the program enjoy interacting with peers that share similar interests. They also enjoy working together.

“We just completed a project where each student researched a military airplane and presented it to the class,” Gagajewski said. “Next up, we will work on marching.”

Soon, JROTC students will be wearing uniforms to their classes on Wednesdays, which will make them easy to spot by their peers.

“I enjoy how it teaches us to work together, and the uniforms are pretty sweet,” JROTC sophomore Dylan Huffman said.

Students interested in joining the JROTC program need to wait until next school year to participate in the class by enrolling with their counselor.