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Jr. ROTC coming to Princeton

Each year the students in the journalism program at PHS finish the course by writing press releases. The class partners with the Princeton Herald to publish the stories. These are also featured on the district website under Latest Headlines. This article is written by Ivan Diaz.

Greenville's JROTC students perform a demontration at PHS. Measuring drugs, fixing brakes and dying hair won’t be the only things going on in the CATE center next year as the Jr. ROTC, a national military program, will make its debut at Princeton High School.

“Our program mission is to instill in students in United States secondary educational institutions the values of citizenship, service to the United States, personal responsibility and a sense of accomplishment,” Assistant Superintendent Donald McIntyre said. “I believe this program will allow more students to reach their full potential and become productive members of society.”

Princeton ISD has hired Lieutenant Commander James Reed to be the senior naval science instructor. LCDR Reed is a retired Naval aviator with 26 years of service, and he has 20 years of JROTC teaching experience. 

District officials are excited about the elite CATE program, as well as the opportunity for increased competition.

“Princeton ISD will begin competing in drill contests,” Mr. McIntyre said. “Drill competitions include armed drill, unarmed drill, academic competitions and physical fitness competitions. In addition, PISD will be competing in the 10-meter air rifle competitions.”  

Students will have the opportunity to learn varied skills such as color guard, as well as practical skills including leadership.

“From what I understand, the program is intended to help expand your leadership skills, and teach you to learn to work as a unit to get things done,” freshman Garrett Cook said. “And it will also help yourself prepare for the military if you choose to join.”

Members of the Greenville JROTC visit with PHS students about the program. Students in JROTC have the opportunity to join the military at a higher rank.

“Students can apply for scholarships to continue on to college, enlist into the military or simply use the leadership skills they have acquired in any area they choose,” Mr. McIntyre said. “I believe the program fits well into the vision of PISD in that it opens new avenues for students to pursue when they graduate from Princeton.”

Aside from being a technical program, members will be encouraged to be active in their community.

“They will be involved with extracurricular activities,” PHS Principal James Lovelady said. “They will be at the football games presenting the flags and doing pushups, much like the Corps of Cadets at Texas A&M. It will help create a sense of community among the kids.”

JROTC will be more than just a class or an extracurricular involvement for some.

“My biggest influence on me to want to join the military and JROTC is the sacrifices the men and women of our armed forces have had to make to protect our country and countries across the globe,” Garrett said. “I hope to one day do my part to make sure our country stays free.”

-- Story by Ivan Diaz. Photos by Drake Beshirs.