Students at and Duluth High School have opportunities to prepare for leadership opportunities in the nation’s military service through the schools' ROTC programs.
In 2010, Norcross High School became the only Junior Army ROTC (Reserve Officer Training Corps) program in Gwinnett County Public Schools — and one of only a few such programs in the nation to link middle school and high school leadership development programs to provide intensive teaching and mentoring to students.
In addition to beginning the Junior Army ROTC program at Norcross High School, and Summerour Middle School are developing PROJECT PASS (Partnership for All Students’ Success) programs that serves as a feeder program to the Norcross initiative.
Duluth High School has a successful and well-established Junior Naval ROTC (Reserve Officer Training Corps) program that prepares young men and women for service to their community and possible later military service to their country. Over the years, many outstanding Duluth High School students have participated in the JNROTC program and gone on to enroll in college and university ROTC programs and later service in the nation’s military.
These innovative programs, sponsored by the National Association of State Boards of Education, the U.S. Army, and the U.S. Department of Education, provide opportunities for middle and high school students to position themselves as leaders in a globally competitive environment and serve as positions to safeguard our nation’s security.
Educators, business and community leaders, military leaders, and other major stakeholders are positioned to support leadership opportunities for our nation’s young men and women. According to the National Association of State Boards of Education, the intention of the program is offer a pilot initiative that is hoped to produce measurable and positive outcomes in six school districts that combine middle and high school programs.
PROJECT PASS, the middle school component of the program, includes free educational programs offered by the Army, community backing, volunteer support, and Department of Education School Improvement Funds to provide intensive teaching and mentoring to students who participate in the program.
The program addresses academic rigor. Also, motivation and self-discipline are key components of the program. Structure and routine, as well as mentoring and monitoring, help students overcome negative behaviors outside the school and instill the skills and self-discipline needed to function in school, in the workforce, and in life.
Congratulations to Jason Lane, principal of Duluth High School, on the continuous success that the Duluth Junior Naval ROTC program demonstrates.
Congratulations, as well, to Jonathan Patterson, principal of Norcross High School; Wanda Yeargin, principal of Pinckneyville Middle School; and Dorothy Jarrett, principal of Summerour Middle School on their leadership in garnering the Junior Army ROTC Program and PROJECT PASS for their respective schools.
Many others worked behind the scenes to make these programs available to students in Norcross and Duluth. Thanks to these community leaders for their work on behalf of our community’s youth and their leadership opportunities in our nation’s military service and global outreach.
About this column: Mary Kay Murphy, Ph.D., is the Gwinnett County Board of Education District III member representing Peachtree Corners, Berkeley Lake, Norcross, Duluth and parts of Peachtree Ridge. She served as board chair in 2010, 2004, and 2000.