May 31, 2012

MCJROTC hits Yuma high schools, preps future leaders

Cpl. Shelby R. Shields
Desert Warrior Staff

In the fall, students at Kofa High School in Yuma, Ariz., will have the opportunity to participate in the first Marine Corps Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps offered to Yuma high school students.

MCJORTC classes at the school will be available to all students and cover a wide variety of subjects from leadership and military history to physical fitness.

This program will also add a school Color Guard, drill team and marksmanship team and afford participants the opportunity to participate in field trips, community service and physical training exercises.

“An MCJROTC program brings stewardship and community awareness; students will recognize the importance of volunteerism,” said retired Master Gunnery Sgt. Eric Holland, Marine instructor for the Kofa MCJROTC program. “It allows students to understand and embrace cultural differences. It provides a public forum for validation of their accomplishments – by awarding individuals, recognizing and celebrating performance.”

Incorporating this program into schools is said to not only prepare young adults for success in a military setting but in the civilian workforce as well.

“It is important to the community because it provides a pool of talented young men and women that have acquired the proper talents and skills needed to join the workforce of local businesses,” said Holland. “Those who can make the successful transition will be in high demand, not just by companies looking to hire their skills, but by organizations within the community.”

Although the program is run and organized by Marines, it is not designed to mimic Marine Corps boot camp or the day-to-day life of a Marine.

“The curriculum taught in the high school is in no way intended to model the life of a Marine.  Its intent is only to introduce the basic elements of leadership, customs, courtesies and Marine Corps history,” added Holland.

Holland, who will be closely working alongside the senior Marine instructor, Maj. Brian Bell, greatly attributes his success in the Corps to participation in a JROTC before joining and cannot wait to begin working with the next generation.

“In high school, I participated in the Air Force JROTC (AFJROTC) program and credit my success as a Marine to my participation in AFJROTC,” added Holland. “Having the opportunity of working with our military family, local community leaders and educators is a dream come true. Collectively, we can mentor and facilitate the development of both academic and psychological growth of our students.”

“The JROTC program will be another jewel in the crown for Kofa High School,” added Bell, who served in Yuma during his career and is excited to return. “During that timeframe we fell in love with the people and community of Yuma and we are thrilled to come back and make it home.”

To find out more about MCJROTC, visit www.mcjrotc.org. Students already attending Kofa High School should contact their guidance counselor to have MCJROTC added to their fall schedule.

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