Each year, the Navy Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps goes through an inspection to review the performance and professionalism of its members. After the first phases of the day-long review—including uniform inspection, color guards, and drill teams—New London’s teens were passing muster.
“So far it’s gotten off to a very good start,” said Commander Joe Hankins, northeast area manager for the NROTC.
The one-credit elective course is open to grades nine through 12 at New London High School and the Science and Technology Magnet High School. Students meet every week, are in uniform once a week, and study a curriculum with topics such as government, Navy history and organization, health and physical fitness, and community service. The corps currently includes 87 cadets.
“We couldn’t be happier to have your children in our class,” Commander Ted Ward told the parents who attended Tuesday’s review at the high school. “They’re really a wonderful group of people.”
Let Patch save you time. Get great local stories like this delivered right to your inbox or smartphone every day with our free newsletter. Simple, fast sign-up here.
Hankins, who oversees NJROTC programs comprising about 8,600 cadets in the northeastern United States, said cadets are in uniform throughout the day of inspection. The review also included a presentation of awards and promotions to some cadets. After the morning drills and inspection, he remained at the school to meet with school administrators and instructors and check in with NJROTC students in their classes.
Hankins said the purpose of the NJROTC is not to recruit students into the military, but to develop skills necessary for students to succeed. He said he expected each cadet to graduate and challenged them to be active not only in the NJROTC but in other programs offered by the school.
“Our goal to you, to the community, is to build good citizens, and I truly believe we’re doing that,” he said.
Company Commander David Wood said community service is a top priority for the corps and that it has passed the halfway point of its goal to collect 1,000 pounds of food for the Gemma E. Moran United Way Labor Food Center. Wood noted how the New London NJROTC took the top spots in academic competitions last spring and said the cadets are hoping to repeat the accomplishment.
“Academically this year, we are very strong,” he said.
Mayor Daryl Finizio praised the students, saying they represent positive values and commitment.
“You make our entire community proud,” he said.