CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- One of the largest and most encouraging programs at Riverside High School is the Junior Reserve Officers' Training Corps, instructed by Sergeant Kenneth Butler and Sergeant Aaron Friday. This year, JROTC has 195 students; two years ago, the program only had 65 students enrolled.
Every Wednesday, JROTC students are required to wear their uniforms to school. The program has gotten so large that there aren't even enough uniforms for everyone. Currently, there are 150 uniforms, but the sergeants hope to get more soon.
"The goal for this year is to make sure everyone is fitted and has their own uniform and to graduate all senior cadets," Friday said.
Most of the cadets wear the ACU, or army combat uniform. Others get to wear the ASU, or army service uniform, class B. Some students who wear the ASU also wear a jacket displaying various badges.
The students enrolled in JROTC must maintain 2.0 GPA, wear the uniform and have respect in the class. The sergeants have already kicked out 15 members this year.
Students in JROTC participate in hands-on activities and develop new skills. Now, each cadet is required to give news, weather and sports PowerPoint presentations to the class to help develop their presenting skills. The instructors said they love teaching the students new skills and key lifestyle components.
"This isn't a program to get kids ready for the Army. It is to develop skills and pride in yourself for the road ahead," Friday said.