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|Tombstone High salutes new JROTC program|
|Written by Samantha Munsey|
|Tuesday, 17 April 2012 03:33|
“It is a new program and I thought just few students would be interested in being cadets,” Gross said. “So when we saw 60 students enrolled in the program, I knew it was going to pass my expectations.”
About 20 percent of the 310 students enrolled in the school are in JROTC. Tombstone High School has the highest rate in Cochise County of students who serve in the military after graduation, according to Gross.
“Our motto is to motivate young cadets to be good citizens,” Gross said. “So if these students decide to go into the military they have these skills. And even if they do not join they will have that leadership experience.”
Tombstone Unified School District decided to incorporate JROTC into the high school after they applied last year to host the program, Gross said.
Some of the requirements the high school had to meet in order to be considered included providing two classrooms and finding space outside the school where JROTC members could conduct drills. In addition to this, the JROTC is in the process of constructing a rifle range and obstacle course, which will be available for students to use next year.
“As we are building this program, we don’t want to take on too much too fast,” Gross said. “We want to make sure we do it right.”
In the program, students participate in a 90-minute class during the school day where they learn about leadership and military principles. After class they partake in physical training and practices. Students who complete two years of the JROTC have the opportunity to start at a higher military rank if they decide to go into the service after graduation.
“I’m here because I want to go into to the Air Force,” said Tomas Cazares, a freshman cadet at Tombstone High School. “I saw that it is something they were offering and knew I wanted to do it, and so far it has been fun.”
Before JROTC started in Tombstone, the only school that offered the program in Cochise County was Buena High School located in Sierra Vista, which hosts about 100 cadets, Gross said.
Nicolai Zazueta, a cadet and a junior at Tombstone High School, was a part of the JROTC program at Buena High School before changing schools this semester. He said that while he likes the JROTC program in Tombstone, he feels there is room for improvement.
“I feel that it is not quite up to par as the Buena battalion just because Tombstone is new to this,” Zazueta said. “But they do have amazing knowledge of the program here that I have not learned yet.”
Gross anticipates more students signing up for JROTC next school year and thinks more perspective students will want to travel and go to school in Tombstone because of it.
“I wanted to go to Tombstone because I prefer small schools,” said Alyssa Janssans, a freshman cadet at Tombstone High School, who could have attended Buena High School. “I want to be a medic in the Air Force and because they now have the JROTC program here, it was easy to make the choice to come here.”