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Incoming freshmen marching to new beat

POSTED: August 21, 2007 5:03 a.m.


Some South Effingham High School ninth graders elected to spend four days in class last week to get a head start on learning the basics they’ll need for NJROTC from fellow students.

Master Chief Robert Auger said the students were briefed on all the areas in the JROTC that they can be involved in.

Steven Russell, a senior and the commanding cadet officer, said he has remembered what it was like when he first joined the JROTC.

“We’ve been teaching them the basics of drill, so they’re ahead of everyone else when school starts,” Russell said. “By the end of this, they’ll get a ribbon.

“I remember how it was when I was a freshman,” Russell said. “A lot has changed. It’s teaching me how to keep my patience because I know they’re upcoming, and I know one of them will take my place one day, so I’m trying to instill the discipline that I’ve learned.”

Russell said he has stayed with the JROTC program because of the discipline and friends he has gained.

Megan Kern, an incoming freshman, said the orientation has been hard but fun. Kern said it was helpful having fellow student as her teachers for the week.

“It’s better than teachers,” she said. “It’s someone that I can relate to that’s my own age.”

Kern said she decided to come to the orientation because she has had family members who were in the JROTC and encouraged her to join the program.

Ashley Taylor, a senior and executive officer, said it has been difficult to teach the new students.

“We already know everything, and they’re starting at ground zero,” Taylor said.

Taylor said the people and the discipline have kept her in JROTC.

“I like the image that we have, where most of us are healthy, athletic, we have a decent head on our shoulder, we have at least decent grades,” she said. “We’re squared away, and I like being that.”

Chrystopher Way, an incoming freshman, said the week has been fun, and the students teaching have been helpful.

“They’ve been there before,” Way said.

Way said he came to the orientation because he thought it would be interesting and help him learn something new.

At the end of the four-day orientation the new JROTC members were awarded their first ribbon.

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