The absence of Junior ROTC

Izabela Rivera

The Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corp (JROTC) gives students advancement in the military, allowing them to enter the service at a higher rank. JROTC also teaches students to become leaders, to learn communication skills and stresses, good citizenship. Many students think JROTC is a military-preparation program but according to the U.S. News website, the purpose is to focus on core values, civics, and self-discipline. JROTC enables cadets to be in a better position to succeed in life, even if they choose not to join the military. If they do choose to join the military, they will have an advantage over the other individuals that did not participate in JROTC. Unfortunately, Morton West High School does not offer this program at this time, but administrators have once thought about participating in Junior ROTC.

The Army setup that in front of the Career Center

Morton West Principal Dr. Joshua McMahon said, “It’s something we’ve looked at in the past few years, we haven’t looked at it right now with our scheduling, it hasn’t been something we’ve been able to go forward with yet”. Since Morton has a close relationship with the Marines, Navy, and Army, their recruits have had many opportunities to talk to Morton students. The school has held events for the recruiters to speak on half days,  have allowed recruiters access to speak in gym classes, and set up an obstacle course that Mr. McMahon requested. In order to learn about the advantages of the military, McMahon plans on “trying to get them out of your gym class and we really want to get them (the recruiters)  into the classrooms like engineering and math classes”, which will keep them more aware and engaged “about the benefits that the armed forces have for students” McMahon added.  Many recruiters come to Morton during lunch periods and set up a table in front of the Career Center. They talk to students and answer any questions they have and provide awareness for military opportunities throughout the week.

        The table provides brochures that contain information about what to expect from joining the military, the benefits, schooling provided and the overall experience. There are usually at least two recruiters at the table. This way, students can get two different perspectives in order to better understand the military lifestyle. Sergeant Alex Sanchez said he was not a part of a JROTC program because his “High school did not offer it” but he hopes Morton West will join the program in the future.    

Pamphlets given out to students

The program allows students to learn a “little more about the country and what individuals have done and the sacrifices they have made to give you the freedom that we have now and just to teach discipline” Sergeant Sanchez added. Ron Konopasek, a maintenance worker at Morton West, also did not get the chance to join a JROTC program because he went to Morton East High School, which did not offer the program. Although he was not able to experience the JROTC program, he believes he wouldn’t have joined the program because he “hated school” but after joining the military he realized he actually “needed school, I went back to college three times already”.

Pamphlets highlighting education opportunities.

Many high school students are not as educated as they could be on the opportunities and benefits the military can offer. “It gives them some responsibility and shows what the military life is actually like, it’ll give them more discipline and it won’t be a bad program” Konopasek added. 

Morton West student Abraham Martinez’20 attended the National Guard boot camp this past summer. He mentioned that he joined The National Guard “because one of the recruiters did a presentation in the auditorium”. Since Martinez had the boot camp experience and feels it was similar to JROTC, he recommends the program to be added. Martinez believes, “there’s a lot of kids who are actually interested in the military but we don’t have that many resources besides the recruiters and I feel like we’ll have more preparation especially for the kids that want to make military their life, like I do”.

JROTC is an important program to educating students about possible military opportunities in their future. For the students who don’t think college is the right path for them, JROTC offers another direction that they can go                                                        towards.