Parents filled the stadium seats of the Lassiter High School’s gymnasium as their student cadets conducted a parade march and various drills to demonstrate how the Lassiter-Pope-Kell Navy Junior ROTC (NJROTC) unit operates and maintains U.S. Navy standards.
Before the cadets began moving in sync across the gym floor, they stood by as NJROTC Area Twelve Manager Cmdr. Jonathan D. Shaw, US Navy (retired), inspected their uniforms and knowledge of the U.S. Navy.
The NJROTC review of the 100+ cadets inside Lassiter’s Ed-SPLOST funded gym was part of the unit’s Annual Military Inspection.
The cadets, who represent Lassiter, Pope, and Kell high schools, work incredibly hard leading up to this event and appreciate seeing their family members cheering from the stands. Their principals and Cobb Schools District leadership, including Board Chair David Chastain, also attended to show support for the highly disciplined cadets.
“I am proud of what our Lassiter, Pope, and Kell cadets have accomplished and how the NJROTC program and teachers have prepared them for success after graduation, whether through a successful military career or the next step in their academic journey,” praised Board Chair Chastain. “The Junior ROTC programs at our schools serve as examples of the variety of enrichment opportunities that we provide Cobb students.”
Although the school composition of the Lassiter-based program has evolved, the NJROTC program has existed since 1982, and the cadets are a fixture at a host of community events, from parades to football games.
The Lassiter, Pope, and Kell cadets are very involved in the East Cobb community. Their support of a food pantry provides meals for families who are overcoming stressful situations.
The program offers Academic, Drone, Orienteering, and Rifle Teams in addition to a highly-skilled Drill Team.
All their teams competed in the Area 12 (State) Championships last year, and so far, the unit’s Orienteering and Drill Teams are aiming for a repeat. The NJROTC’s Orienteering Team competed in the Navy National Orienteering Championships in California last year.
According to Cobb Senior Naval Science Instructor Cmdr. John Walker, their excellent performance is not surprising. The cadets put in three to eight hours of after-school practice every week, depending on the number of teams they have joined. While it is not a requirement for military service or even the primary goal of the Navy Junior ROTC program, approximately 10 percent of the cadets go on to join one of the military branches.
“I know that we provide a practical learning environment that demonstrates to our students the methods to set goals and develop a path to meet, achieve and exceed those goals,” Cmdr. Walker said. “Without a reasoned plan and an ability to execute that plan, all you have is a daydream – our students are deliberately going places and making a positive impact on the world!”