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Help save JROTC at Manteca High
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Editor, Manteca Bulletin,
On May 18, on a field near Manteca High School, a remarkable thing happened. The Manteca High School JROTC held its annual Sports and Awards Day Ceremony. In any normal year, this would be a memorable event, but would not be particularly remarkable. However, this was not a normal year.

You see, in March, the Manteca High School JROTC lost both of its instructors at the same time. So without outside leadership or intervention, the members of the Manteca High School JROTC Battalion not only chose to take responsibility for coordinating, managing, and conducting the annual Sports and Awards Day ceremonies themselves, but also they executed the event flawlessly.

From coordinating the outside representatives presenting the awards, to cooking the hot dogs and hamburgers for the participants and observers, they all pulled together as a team and used the leadership and teamwork skills they learned while undergoing their mandatory PE classes (the program is a voluntary substitute for traditional PE). It was not an easy task, since several of the units were undermanned and decisions had to be made about how to reorganize the units in such a way that competitive teams could be fielded. I cannot think of any more compelling evidence of the effectiveness of the JROTC program in building the future leaders of this country than what was witnessed that day.

Now the Manteca High School JROTC unit is in danger of being disbanded for the 2009-10 school year. You see, in the current fiscal environment of cost cutting, it is much easier to cancel a program that doesn’t have a strong internal spokesman (the instructors). The students themselves are trying to voice their opinion, but rarely are the voices of high school kids heard when pennies are being pinched and “adult” decisions are being made. Please help them by writing to the school board, your state, local or federal representatives, or by signing one of the petitions that you might see in the next few weeks. These are kids who have already proven that the program is worthwhile. They are also our future leaders, whether they pursue military careers or not. All too frequently we complain about our leadership, but all too rarely do we actually do something to improve it. This is your chance to make a difference.
 Robert A. Carl
May 28, 2009