AFJROTC at West

Samantha Algoso, Staff Reporter

Do you plan on joining the military after high school but have no experience or knowledge? Air Force Junior Recruit Officer Training Corps (JROTC) can offer you a variety of activities and events to attend to give you a wider look on what’s in store.

Why join JROTC at West? Students can obtain intrinsic and extrinsic benefits from the discipline, experience and skills that are taught. They will learn to be a good leader and make a difference in society.

The JROTC program has strong core values. Progression is shown in cadets because they are taught responsibility and discipline- some qualities of what make a good citizen. After being asked what some advantages of working as a JROTC teacher are, Chief Morris Pickel said, “Probably the diverse ideas and the opportunity to work with a lot of different people.”

Deputy Group Commander, Edmund Luciano, 16, is in his third year in the program and enjoys his position in leadership. Edmund believes the personal advantages of being in the corps are respect and admiration from teachers, along with being looked at as a higher figure and well-rounded kid in the community. “Yes, I think my leadership skills and my organization time management kind of skills have improved,” Edmund said. “I feel like it’s kind of for the people who get involved.”

Being in the JROTC program also gets students involved in the community while being in the presence of other cadets that may seem like a second family. The corps picnic is an annual event that invites all JROTC students to take a trip to the base and spend a day with the corps while enjoying the entertainment, games, music, food and the surrounding nature.

Different camps and classes are held during different seasons. For example, this fall, water survival is open for students who enjoy being in the water and want to learn how to survive in certain situations. During winter, winter survival school takes place in the wilderness for hands-on overnight camping. Summer camp is spent a week out in the woods.

JROTC is invested in community work. Fundraisers are a way the corps raises money for trips and equipment.  During the end of October, cadets can volunteer for community service hours by helping set up Fright Night at the Northway Mall for Halloween.  Donations are given to the corps for attendance and great service.  Not only are the West High JROTC students involved with helping in the community, they also improve the setting of the West High campus by removing trash every Friday. ”You’d be surprised with what’s laying out on the parking lot,” Chief Pickel added.

Joining JROTC will give students work ethics which will then give them the benefit of leaving a great impression with an employer when searching for a job. “Whether it’s McDonald’s or being a CEO in a big company,” Chief Pickel said.

For students who seek further relations with the US Military, JROTC gives them a head start and achieve rank, which equates to making money quicker. Scholarship opportunities are available if grades are within a certain grade point average and the requirements for college ROTC or the academy are fulfilled.

“It has the possibility for a lot of things,” says Chief Pickel. “But it depends on how much you put into it.” When four years are spent in West High School JROTC, graduates have the option to continue the program at the University of Alaska Anchorage and receive credit for the first year because the material taught is equivalent to all four years combined in JROTC during high school.

West High students can talk to their counselor or visit Chief Pickel for information about joining JROTC.