JROTC: Building Life-Long Leadership Skills

JROTC Color Guard had the honor of presenting the American and Pennsylvanian Flags at a 76ers game.


TOWAMENCIN – Every Wednesday, we see our peers who are enrolled in the JROTC program walking around in uniform. We may joke to them that they look like they are in the military, but the truth is that JROTC has extremely little to do with the military. It has everything to do with building the self-confidence and leadership skills required to carry on past high school.

JROTC stands for Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps, which may sound very military-centric. However, only 3-5% of students enrolled in this program actually join the military. There is no military recruitment or service required as part of the program. The program actually focuses on the skills required to be an adult and give back to the community. 

When joining this program, there are four different classes you can join; Science of Flight, Frontiers of Aviation, Aerospace Science, and Global Studies. Each course offers different information, and they are generally taken in the order of Science of Flight first and Global Studies last. Science of Flight is about why things may or may not fly. Frontiers of Aviation is about the history of aviation. The third course, Aerospace Science, generally covers the journey into space. Finally, in Global Studies, cadets study four different regions of the world and why they are important. 

A Mandatory part of the JROTC program is inspection. Inspection is why our fellow students have to wear their uniforms on Wednesdays. During inspection, all cadets fall into a flight and are asked questions about their unit, uniforms, and military history while someone inspects their uniform. The courses and inspections are required within the JROTC program, but many factors are optional. 

One of the many different options available in JROTC is community service. C/Lt. Col Lorna Loughery commented, “in the community, we do a lot of volunteer events. Whether it’s a fundraiser, school events, turkey deliveries, gift deliveries, veterans’ events, nursing home events, or [a] Gold Star mothers event, [they are] a key part of this program.”

Another facet of the program is the drill team. There are actually many different types of teams: New Cadet, Regulation, Color Guard, Armed Exhibition, and Unarmed Exhibition. The New Cadet team is for freshman who are learning the basics of how to march. They compete on their own. On the other hand, Regulation Drill Team is for the seasoned cadets who can march and perform a sequence for an event or competition. Next, Color Guard is what students see at events. There is a behind-the-scenes sequence of uncasing the American flag and then presenting it while the national anthem is played. Armed Exhibition team is where rifle spinning occurs, and Unarmed Exhibition goes by its very own set of rules, but without a rifle, and is like a step team. 

Our program has won many awards for these drill teams. “At nationals, one of our cadets came in second place in an event called Knockout. This event is like Simon Says, but with military commands. This young lady won against thousands of other students. Our Color Guard also came in third place at nationals. [In] local competitions we often place, but like any competition team, there are ups and downs,” explained CMSgt Sullivan. 

At the end of the day, every part of the JROTC program comes together to form something amazing at North Penn.  C/Lt. Col Loughery said about how the program has affected her, “JROTC has helped me build a lot of connections between my peers and in my community, develop my public speaking skills, talk to people from different backgrounds, and look into career paths. It has also been an outlet for me. I can put in different ideas and my time and watch an outcome from it. I have learned life skills that other classes may not teach you and incorporate[d] it into my life,” she finished.

Chief Sullivan has a different perspective on how JROTC helps her students: “I see my students blossom with confidence and skills of leadership, as well as more organization. Myself and Major Parmiter are able to help anyone who is interested in the military, but the course is geared to experiences that will prepare students for the next phase of their life.”

If you are looking to get involved with the JROTC program, you can contact your guidance counselor or Chief Sullivan. It is never too late to join!