Story by Zakiya Austin and Destiny White, photo by Zakiya Austin
According to Sergeant Whetstine, 55% of students prefer ROTC when it comes down to deciding between ROTC or gym class. Curiosity is what leads students into taking ROTC.
“I think that students are curious, that’s why a lot of people join ROTC because their curious about the military,” ROTC instructor Sergeant Joseph Whetstine said.
Curiosity is a trait that every student has before entering a new place that they’re not familiar with.
“I thought that it may be rough, but since I’ve been in here it’s not that rough,” freshman Chyenne Burkhart said.
Older and more experienced students in ROTC feel more comfortable with Physical Training now than they did as freshmen.
“I can do more pushups and situps, I can run the mile a little bit more faster since I went to the Citadel,” sophomore Kyndal Robinson said.
Students in higher levels of ROTC know that it’s more than physical training all the time.
“JROTC taught me three core values: integrity first, excellence in all I do, and service before myself,” senior Jasmine Drayton said.
Not everyone in ROTC actually goes into the Air Force or Army after they graduate.
“The reason being is because the high school is a volunteer program and about 10% join and the rest go to college,” Sergeant Whetstine said.
Certain students know that the Air Force is the place for them.
“I know that that’s where I’m going for sure, I’m going to the Air Force,” junior London Morton said.
Not everyone in the program thinks about going to the Air Force after high school.
“From my point of view I like it it seems like a nice occupation, but it’s not something that I’d choose,” Kyndal said.
Students who want to go into the Army or Air Force after high school will need to meet the specific requirements in order to enlist.
“You have to pass a physical test, they do background checks to make sure you don’t have a record or any convictions, and you would have to be within your weight standard,” Sergeant Whetstine said.
Certain cadets may recommend younger students such as middle schoolers to try the JROTC program when they get to high school.
“I would encourage eighth graders to take ROTC because it’s really fun and you get to go on field trips and make new friends,” senior Jasmine Drayton said.
JROTC is an amazing program that helps students learn about leadership and teamwork, helping them to grow as people and get them prepared for the Air Force or Army.
“Yes, normally people who come to the ROTC program especially if someone stays more than 2 years they have a better understanding about leadership, discipline, and teamwork,” Sergeant Whetstine said. “So these guys already have leadership behind them and it’s not like they have to go out and go learn that stuff like other 50% or 75%.”