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Guest opinion: JROTC program has strong record of success in Lee

March 1, 2019
Cape Coral Daily Breeze

JROTC offers a nationally accredited curriculum, which teaches leadership, team-building, decision-making, learning styles, emotional control, conflict resolution, financial awareness, first aid, United States history, community service, personal wellness and more. Most remarkable is the requirement that all cadets have a five-year plan for life after high school.

JROTC cadets regularly compete and win in state and national contests like Robotics, Raider Challenge, Cyber Patriot Games, Leadership and Academic Bowl and Drill.

Cadets also have the opportunity to attend STEM camp at FGCU and Adventure Camp at Camp Tanah Keeta. Annually, instructors take hundreds of cadets to visit the University of Tampa and USF. Cadets interested in careers post-graduation tour Fort Myers Technical College. A select group of 72 cadets visited Washington, D.C. this spring.

Article Photos

Cathleen Morgan

In the 2018 JROTC senior class, 98.9 percent of students graduated, that is higher than the District average. In addition, graduates received more than $10.6 million in scholarships. 38 percent went on to college, 32 percent are attending vocational or technical schools and 17 percent joined the military. Each had a plan, something the District is working toward for every student.

The quality of leadership and the engagement and motivation of cadets made The School District of Lee County the natural choice of U.S. Army Cadet Command to pilot new JROTC curriculum which will be rolled out nationwide.

JROTC is led by 73 diverse instructors, each having 20 or more years of retired leadership experience in a wide variety of cultural settings. Four are Golden Apple recipients and one, Jesse Bryson of Fort Myers High School was named 2017-18 National JROTC Instructor of the Year.

The cost to deliver the accredited curriculum is shared 50/50 by the U.S. Army and The School District of Lee County. Over the years, many local groups have stepped up to support JROTC. The Lee Coast and Calusa Military Officers Association of America (MOAA) provides Raider Challenge and Drill Meet sponsorships and scholarships. The West Point Society of Naples sponsors the JROTC award ceremony. The Lehigh Acres American Legion Post 323 sponsors the leadership and academic bowl competitions and the Cape Coral American Legion Post 90 sponsors the marksmanship competition.

We know that preparing students for their post-high school lives as good citizens is a community effort, one public schools cannot shoulder alone. The Army JROTC program is one that has greatly enriched lives of so many of our students while providing the opportunity to acquire critical character building skills and experiences.

If you would like to learn more, please contact Lieutenant Colonel William Zacovic,

- Cathleen Morgan represents District 7 on the School Board of Lee County



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