Few clubs rise to that standard. There have been years when there weren’t 80 students playing football at all levels. More than likely, there aren’t too many teams or organizations with 80 or more participants.
Unfortunately, that’s just not enough to keep the U.S. Navy funding the Navy Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps (NJROTC) at A.C. Jones High School in this time of defense budget cuts.
The Navy had put the school on notice that it would need to reach 10 percent participation levels to secure continued funding. That would have meant approximately 102 NJROTC students.
The BISD is considering adopting an alternate program called the Navy National Defense Cadet Corps (NNDCC). Under this program, the BISD would have to pay for the uniforms, the necessary equipment and the instructor’s salary.
Under the plan now winding down, the Navy paid 40 percent of the instructor’s salary. The NNDCC proposal requires the participation of a minimum of 50 physically fit students, which would appear attainable from the current numbers.
Frank Gonzales, commander of the local VFW chapter, has indicated he thought some support through fundraisers might be contributed.
We would hope something could be worked out to keep a junior ROTC program in place despite tight budgets.
At a time when far too many homes are lacking basic support for students to be successful, this is a program that teaches responsibility, discipline and leadership – essential skills that are in short supply in any workforce these days. Students do not have to enter the military to benefit from junior ROTC participation, though the military is an honorable career in itself.
As we’ve argued before, there’s not just one track for all students to achieve their own individual American dream. We’re not all athletes or future doctors and lawyers. But the attributes developed within a junior ROTC program are applicable to just about any career.
What say we find a way?
– Jeff Latcham