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Coast Guard copter lands at Lathrop High
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LATHROP – Students at Lathrop High School are going to get a special treat when they arrive on campus this morning.

As part of the school’s annual Armed Forces Career Day, a Coast Guard helicopter is scheduled to land just outside of the campus quad at 8 a.m. – one of several events scheduled to introduce students to the opportunities that the armed forces offer them upon graduation.

But in the eyes of JROTC Second Lieutenant Nicholas Vaughn, the day also serves a great recruiting tool for the school’s military leadership program by giving students an inside glimpse into the things that they can expect by becoming a member.

“I think that an event like this is a huge asset to the JROTC program because it helps draw in new students who are interested after seeing all of the recruiters on campus,” said Vaughn – who serves as the Public Affairs Officer of the Lathrop Battalion. “It gives students more leadership opportunities, and helps give all of us the chance to be better citizens both in the classroom and in school.”

An Army recruiter is also scheduled to be on campus with a rock-climbing wall for students to try out, and a variety of challenges – from pull-ups to sit-ups – will also be taking place. Students who reach certain marks will be given a variety of items ranging from key chains to T-shirts.

While it does give recruiters the chance to talk to students about careers in the military, Vaughn says that it’s the military aspect of structure in the JROTC program that makes the program successful and keeps him involved.

“I enjoy the Army structure, the discipline, the leadership and the core values that it teaches all of the students who are involved,” he said. “It’s a program that teaches everybody to strive to be better, and that stretches beyond just the JROTC and into the other classes that we take on campus.

“Hopefully this day will enlighten students about some of those things and will help the program grow.”

Every Manteca Unified high school currently has a Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps – or JROTC – program which is partially funded by the district and partially funded by the military. The program itself is advertised as a leadership program and not a military recruiting tool.