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HCPSS / NEWS

Students Share Their JROTC Experiences

May 23rd, 2019

A group of ROTC students are walking in a formation.

Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (JROTC) is a nationwide program for high school students to develop character, citizenship and leadership skills. The program is offered at three HCPSS high schools–Atholton (Army), Howard (Army) and Oakland Mills (Air Force)–but students at other schools may also apply.

In this Q&A, JROTC students Kiana Macharia, Jack Thaxton and Maya Maglocci share about their experiences and how the program has prepared them for the future, sometimes in unexpected ways.

Female ROTC student is raising an American flag.

Kiana Macharia, Oakland Mills High School
What about the JROTC program was appealing to you?

When I was in middle school, Oakland Mill’s JROTC came to speak to us about the program and the different aspects and advantages of taking the course. Their enthusiasm and excitement about the program’s activities, like drill and learning about aerospace history, interested me.

What aspects of the JROTC program have you enjoyed the most?
As new cadets come in every year, I truly enjoy getting to know them and teaching them the things that I have learned as a member of JROTC. I also enjoy participating in leading some of the different after-school activities adjacent to JROTC, such as drill team, color guard, raiders and model rocketry.

What are your future college/career plans, and how has JROTC influenced those plans?
I plan on joining the medical corps of the Army once I graduate from college. JROTC has truly influenced my college and career plans, because it has provided me with opportunities to explore military options along with my educational goals.

How has the JROTC program helped you progress as a student and citizen?
It has provided me with core values that I plan on adopting as my own now and as I get ready to leave this program. Some of these values do not just apply to JROTC; I use them in my everyday life as well: integrity first, service before self and excellence in all we do.

Male ROTC student is standing in front of a group of ROTC students.

Jack Thaxton, Atholton High School
What about the JROTC program was appealing to you?

We are a family. If you’re feeling low or down, you can talk to anybody about anything, no matter your gender or background. It’s a home away from home.

What aspects of the JROTC program have you enjoyed the most?
My favorite aspect is that there’s something always new to learn each day. You can come in thinking one thing, and then learn something else. I’ve also enjoyed being a part of the drill team.

What are your future college/career plans, and how has JROTC influenced those plans?
I plan to go to New York City to study musical theatre at American Musical and Dramatic Academy, and then to pursue a career on Broadway. What JROTC has done for me is give me confidence as an actor, singer and dancer.

How has the JROTC program helped you progress as a student and citizen?
The program makes sure I get better grades through our tutoring program. I’ve helped other students, and others have helped me. Also, as a community member, I have exceeded more than 200 service hours. Every volunteer event is amazing, including the senior center prom where you get to talk with an older generation about their life and experiences.

A female ROTC student is standing in front of a group of people.

Maya Maglocci, Howard High School
What is something you have learned from the JROTC program?

In this program, time management is something very important to learn. You need to learn to prioritize what must be done, or else you will bring down the group or yourself.

What aspects of the JROTC program have you enjoyed the most?
After school, there are teams that practice, which are really fun to be in. The people who stay after school and travel with the teams become your family, and it’s where I met some of my best friends.

How has the JROTC program helped you progress as a student and citizen?
Every quarter, we are required to volunteer, and it’s a great way to benefit the community. As a cadet, the community holds us to a higher standard because of what we’ve learned in JROTC, and it’s an honor to know I can exceed their expectations.

What makes the JROTC program stand out?
JROTC definitely emphasizes responsibility, leadership, effective communication and advocacy. These are skills that are essential in life and can help you succeed in other areas.

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