“Our objective is not to recruit for the military but to inform the students about the options available to them in life and to produce better, well-rounded citizens,” he continued. “However, cadets who complete three years in JROTC and choose to enter the military immediately after graduation from high school are eligible to enter the Air Force two pay grades higher than other enlistees. Several of our past students have started their military careers with stripes on their sleeves and extra money in their pockets because they spent three or more semesters with us. Cadets who choose to continue their education may receive special consideration for Air Force ROTC scholarships. These pay for four years of tuition, books and fees at more than 1,000 universities and colleges.”
Sites noted that four Lincolnton High JROTC students have earned congressional appointments, worth more than $500,000, to the U.S. Air Force Academy.
“The bottom line,” he said, “is that regardless of what students decide to do in the future––work, college or the military––the leadership, teamwork and self-discipline taught in the Air Force JROTC program help them succeed.”
Lincolnton High’s JROTC program is completing its 13th year, Sites informed.
“And it’s getting better every year,” he said. “We have received six consecutive Distinguished Unit Awards from the Air Force. This past year, we completed more than 1,700 community service hours; competed in four drill meets and four orienteering meets; marched in two parades; hosted two military balls; and ran model rocketry and aircraft teams. We run parking at all our home football games, the Special Olympics and Relay for Life. We present the colors at sporting events, ceremonies and civic events. We clean a section of North Aspen Street; teach Junior Achievement lessons to fourth grade classes; help at the Lincoln County Airport Fly-In; and too many more events to mention. We try to do a little bit more, a little bit better every year.
“As JROTC instructors,” he added, “our most important job is to serve as mentors and advocates for our students and work with their other teachers to help them be successful in all their classes. British author Rudyard Kipling wrote, ‘The strength of the wolf is the pack, and the strength of the pack is the wolf.’ As proud members of the LHS Wolfpack, we have adopted these words as a motto in JROTC. We believe that our strength as individuals comes from the positive relationships we build and nurture with those around us, which in turn makes our team stronger as well. We focus on helping all our students––our ‘wolves’––develop these relationships that help them grow in maturity and wisdom in an uplifting, encouraging environment: our ‘pack.’ In short, JROTC is a family, and we care about and take care of each other by serving as a positive peer group where every student can fit in and feel at home.”
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