JROTC students work hard to succeed at R.C. Hatch

Published 11:19 pm Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Many students find extracurricular activities not only rewarding but also helpful in getting into college. Most often, those activities are clubs, community service organizations or athletics.

For four promising students at R.C. Hatch High School — Arailia Boddie, Daquicha Coleman, Courtney Smith and Garry Wilson — one of the most rewarding experiences has been through the Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps, or Junior ROTC.

The RCHHS Junior ROTC is led by 1Sgt. Tommy Burroughs, in his first year with the program. The experiences and education that Junior ROTC provides will lend themselves not only to college life, but to life in the real world as well

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“I’ve learned how to better express myself to others,” said Boddie. “I also learned how to show younger students what it takes to become a leader. It’s a very fun program, and I want to encourage others to join the JROTC program.”

“I learned a lot of things about history in Junior ROTC that I didn’t learn in my history class,” said Smith.

Each of these four JROTC members has a strong academic background that was bolstered by the program.

“I wanted to join because they told me that you get to teach the younger kids,” said Coleman. “I couldn’t wait to be a part of that. We have several activities and trips.”

“I wanted to gain some leadership abilities, and it really helped me do that,” said Smith.

“The program starts in the ninth grade,” said Boddie. “When I was in the eighth grade, I saw how students helped other students learn. I like participating and helping, so that’s what I really like to do, so I joined the program.”

“I heard it was a nice program,” Wilson said. “I wanted to find out for myself, so I signed up, and found out that it was true; it really is a nice program.”

Many of the students are also active in other school activities. Coleman is a member of Future Business Leaders of America, Future Career Community Leaders of America, the girls’ basketball team and the band. Smith joined the track team this year, while Boddie is also on the girls’ basketball team and FBLA. Wilson is in Jobs for Alabama Graduates, Future Farmers of America and he plans on playing on the baseball team this year.

For many students, for many different reasons, the JROTC program has been more than an extracurricular activity. It helps provide lessons on leadership, working with others and other lessons that will help well after graduation.