It goes without saying that the Turlock High School Navy Junior Reserves Officers Training Corps program provides nothing but rewarding experiences for all members.
At this very moment, the THS NJROTC marksmanship team is in Arizona competing in the Navy National Air Rifle Championship, where they are vying for the chance to compete against all JROTC branches in the nation.
This journey out of state comes after THS junior Larry Maloney garnered the highest score nationwide during his participation in the NJROTC marksmanship program. With his score of 282 during the November competition, Maloney surpassed 2,800 other cadets nationwide.
The cadet was also honored as the third best shooter out of 9,500 cadets in all JROTC branches nationwide.
“I wanted something that I could look back on and be proud of and this program helps build character,” said Maloney in December when asked why he initially joined the program. “Before, I was just another kid who didn’t like rules or discipline. Now I am a leader.”
The possibility of current and potential students to experience the same sense of fulfillment that Maloney felt is now in jeopardy, as students were recently told at their Annual Military Inspection that the program could possibly be shut down due to unsatisfactory enrollment.
“The gist of the AMI is that our Area Manager comes to inspect us,” wrote THS NJROTC operations officer and student Jordana Brown, “not just on personal appearance, but on marching, knowledge, armed drill, and how our staff runs.”
“Unfortunately, we barely passed because of one devastating reason: enrollment,” continued Brown.
This year, the NJROTC program at THS only has 77 cadets.
Typically for a school the size of THS, the NJROTC program should host approximately 150 to 250 cadets. According to Brown, if enrollment falls anywhere below that, they are in “big trouble.”
Although she would be personally devastated in the event that the program is shut down, Brown notes that she would not be the only one.
“Our unit is like a family to many cadets — the students who struggle with confidence and making friends find them here,” wrote Brown. “This program gives so many opportunities to cadets and no one realizes it.”
With the possibility of a shut down looming in the future, Brown has made it her personal mission to increase enrollment.
“As a unit we can only do so much when it comes to getting students to join our program,” wrote Brown. “We travel to junior highs and do many events to try to get our name out there, but it hasn’t worked like we need it to.”
Brown reports that in addition to attending various schools and events, she has also made recruitment videos, flyers, websites, and a Facebook page.
Just like Maloney with his success on the marksmanship team, Brown touts her own personal achievements that accompanies being in the NJROTC program at THS.
“During my time in this unit I have only soared,” wrote Brown. “I went from being a kid who doesn’t event care what grades she makes or if she even makes it through high school to being on the Principal’s Honor Roll and winning many awards because of what this program has taught me and what I’ve experienced here.”
“I’m not the only cadet who’s experienced this, and sadly I don’t want to be the last,” concluded Brown.
For more information on the THS NJROTC program, visit turlockhigh.wix.com/turlockhighnjrotc.