An inside look at JROTC


Lyness Amsberry

The JROTC students raise their trophies high after placing in competition. The program is a tight knit community, always working together to do their best.

Jenna Jordan, Co-Editor-in-Chief

Contrary to popular belief, the JROTC program is not just for students who plan to enter into the armed forces. The high school Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (JROTC) program has become more enticing to students within the past few years, but is often scrutinized by others due to a simple, common misconception. In reality, the program primarily teaches leadership skills and applies the motivating pressure that some students need simply to be better citizens.

“We do a lot of stuff on leadership education, in theory and in practice,” JROTC teacher Major Richard Sugg said.

JROTC also focuses on maintaining physical fitness and teaching first aid skills, as well as learning more about American history and government.

For the first time in 15 years, a West student is the WS/FCS Brigade Commander. Last spring, junior Donovan Allen competed to become the Brigade Commander, won the competition and earned the position. The Brigade Commander is in charge of all of the approximately 1,200 JROTC students in the county.
“It’s a testament to his ability, drive, leadership,” Sugg said.

Allen is very committed to the program but the way he got started isn’t quite what you’d expect.
“I was always interested in the military and I kinda looked into other options… I was looking into what I should and shouldn’t join, and my sister actually told me not to join JROTC, so I, in spite of her, joined JROTC anyways,” Allen said.

After his year and a half in the program, Allen decided he wanted to become brigade commander because of the connections he had made with the leaders before him.

“They were awesome. They were like my idols. They really brought me into high school… I saw them go to West Point, I’ve seen them achieve great things and I wanted to be a person like that,” Allen said.
Second year JROTC student, junior Lyness Amsberry, has also achieved a high position within the program. In only a short amount of time, she has risen to be a cadet officer, as well as part of the primary staff as the PR manager for West JROTC.

“Usually reserved for a fourth year student, Lyness is a second year student and is one of the top cadets in the program,” Sugg said. “She’s the storyteller.”

The reason Amsberry joined JROTC is one she holds close to her heart.

“My grandpas, they served in the military, and I didn’t want to be the generation in my family that ended military service because, my uncle, he served as well,” Amsberry said.

She sees this opportunity as PR relations manager in high school as a direct line to what she wants to do after graduation. Amsberry plans to attend college and participate in the ROTC program there as well.

“From there I want to have a military career as a public affairs officer, which is what I’m doing right now through JROTC,” Amsberry said. “God’s given me the ability to really like public speaking… and that’s a gift that I want to be able to use and put forward and take into a military career where I can help and serve other people.”

As only one of four seniors in the program this year, Daniela Morales plays a very important role within the competitive realm of JROTC. Morales led a group of contingents in one of the disciplines on Oct. 30 and won, beating all other teams from the western region of North Carolina. She also competed in an individual discipline and won that as well.

“I was ecstatic and very overwhelmed with joy, but shocked as well,” said Morales.

Morales has loved doing JROTC and enjoyed the opportunities she has had and connections she has made.
“She’s really doing great things,” said Sugg

Not only are there these highly accomplished leaders in JROTC, but as a program packed with juniors, Sugg has high hopes for what they will be able to accomplish in the coming years.