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Start Em’ Young Within JROTC

The JROTC (Junior Officer Training Course) was established via the National Defense Act of 1916, and by 1946, all branches of service were represented in the program.

JROTC is offered to qualifying students in high schools throughout the country. However, not all schools have the program due to limited availability.

It begins with Congress, which has the duty of determining how many programs are available per branch. If a school applies for JROTC, they may be limited as to what branch is available if any. Currently, there are no Army branch JROTC programs available. This means that for a new school to acquire an Army JROTC program, another school would have to lose it.

With population growth and new schools opening continuously, there is a shortage of JROTC programs available. Currently, Florida and Texas are the states with the most JROTC programs in the nation.

Students are introduced to their district’s JROTC programs as early as elementary and middle school when the JROTC commanders visit classrooms to introduce the program while students choose their upcoming elective studies.

In some schools, there is more interest than spots available for the program so students are encouraged to sign up early. Not unlike future college selection, students are accepted into the program with a strong emphasis on academic achievement and behavior.

Instructors/commanders make it clear that the mission of the JROTC program is not to recruit for the military, rather it is to help students become better citizens. Through military-style instruction, students learn to be accountable to each other, hold leadership positions, and ultimately, as Seniors, run the entire program, creating a student-led organization.

All JROTC instructors must be prior military and have been in service for at least eight years, and they must become an instructor within 3-years of leaving the service.

For the Hudson High School Army JROTC program, students enjoy a future-building extracurricular activity that doesn’t break the bank. The Army pays for all uniforms, equipment, and other items, and fundraising monies are used to pay for bus transportation, etc.

The Hudson High School JROTC program has their neighboring VFW Post 4412 to lean on when needed. Recently, the students needed new sabers, but the district did not want to purchase “weapons,” so they were purchased and donated by their friends at Post 4412.


Another incredible opportunity for Florida students is the Bright Futures program, which is funded through the Florida State Lottery. Students with good SAT and CT scores and thirty to one hundred hours of volunteer service can qualify for free tuition at a Florida State College.

As part of the JROTC program, volunteer hours are recorded anytime students attend events acting as Color Guard. The JROTC commanders submit the volunteer hours of their students to the school’s guidance counselors who then add the information to the student’s Bright Futures packet.

Student Profile: Kristina Walker, Junior

“When I walked to school, I was first attracted to the JROTC by a figurine in the window. I remember it was a figurine wearing a uniform with all the bling on it, and I was super excited. My parents were in the military, so I understood that being part of the JROTC would be like being part of a family.”

Kristina is currently a Junior and has been a part of the Hudson High School JROTC program since her freshman year, with the intent to continue through her Senior year.

“I’ve made a lot of lifelong friendships in this program, even with my instructors. They are some of my closest people for sure.”

Student Profile: Jeremiah, Senior

Jeremiah wasn’t too sure about joining JROTC his freshman year, but he is so glad he did.

“The JROTC is a big, huge family. I was welcomed.”

Now, after four years in the program, Jeremiah has signed up for the Marine Corps in an early admission program. By utilizing early admission, Jeremiah can lean on his JROTC instructors for insight into the process. Within one-to-two weeks of Jeremiah’s graduation, he will be headed off to boot camp.


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