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JROTC helps turn Lathrop High students into confident leaders

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JROTC  helps turn Lathrop High students into confident leaders

Lathrop High sophomore Alexandra Floresca credits JROTC for her personal growth.


POSTED March 24, 2012 1:27 a.m.

LATHROP – Alexandra Floresca admitted she knew very little about the Junior Reserved Officers Training Corps at Lathrop High.

As an eighth-grade student at Lathrop Elementary School – she spent one year there after moving to the Central Valley from San Jose – Floresca had an interest in the leadership aspect of the program during freshmen registration.

JROTC was that and much more.

“I was shy to the point where I couldn’t talk to anyone,” she said on Thursday. “(JROTC) helped me in speech – as in public speaking – and being a leader.”

Her development was such in that first year, earning Floresca with the Battalion’s “Spartan Leader of 300” award.

Even her folks were surprised with the numerous awards she earned in competitions at places such as Mount Diablo, Edison, East Union and Ripon.

With it came trophies collected by the Spartans Battalion.

For the past two years, the JROTC program at Lathrop High has included Sierra High. All told, nearly 40 students combined from the two schools working under the guidance of Lt. Col. (ret.) Venjie Gose and Sgt. 1st Class (ret.) Brian Williams.

“JROTC offers leadership, life skills and confidence to students,” said Williams, who has been with program since January 2011.

As for community projects, Gose noted that none are in the plans for this year.

“We did go to (the Veterans Hospital in) Yountsville last year,” he said. “We helped the veterans there go to church and we even stayed for lunch.

“Some of the kids got to meet a few of the surviving veterans from World War II.”

In her short time in JROTC, Floresca took part in the events held at Camp Parks in Dublin along with leadership training and various drill competitions.

As an Adjunct Officer (S1), she’s in charge of preparing records and reports to the battalion while maintaining records, assigning cadets to units, and publishing battalion orders.

Floresca also acts as the secretary to the board in charge of cadet promotion and awards.

Besides the classroom work, she enjoys the physical fitness part of JROTC.

“On Thursdays, we do workouts such as running a mile and time in the weight room. We spend Fridays doing sports,” said Floresca, who prefers swimming.

Looking back, she’s amazed at personal changes thanks to JROTC.

“I was shy and quiet and now I’m not afraid to talk in front of people. (JROTC) has made me who I am today,” Floresca said.

209 staff reporter

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