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JROTC for Area Students?
Friday, 16 July 2010

July 16--  A partnership between the U.S. Army and the National Association of State Boards of Education may lead to the establishment of a middle school leadership program and Junior ROTC at the high school level in the Vidalia area.

Representatives of the partnership were hosted by Vidalia City Schools at a meeting Wednesday morning at Vidalia High School.

Dr. Yen Chau with the state boards of education group says the initiative starts in the middle schools to motivate kids to make something of themselves.  "Project Pass stands for Partnership for All Students Success and we want to provide students the skill, knowledge and character to succeed not only in high school but beyond," she says.

The Army is working with the educators to help solve what is becoming a national security concern.  "They have a pool where only three in ten youth are actually qualified to enlist in the Army.  For educators, we're part of the problem because we're not educating our youth so they can graduate with a high school diploma.  We're dealing with the same population of students who are not graduating to become successful adults," Dr. Chau says.

The Army believes the presence of a JROTC unit can help students succeed, according to Dr. Donna Rice with the Army's Cadet Command.  "I think that the way the Army is organized and bringing that into the high schools so that students are experiencing graduated levels of leadership is the key," she says.

Some federal funds are available to start the program and Vidalia School Superintendent Dr. Tim Smith says an application for the pilot program will be filed if resources can be found.  

He also notes the four area school systems involved in the Southeast Early College and Career Academy in Vidalia might be a source of students for the program.

The Army has a waiting list of schools which want to start a JROTC program and says schools selected for Project PASS will receive priority consideration.


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