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Red Mountain JROTC students serving the community

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Color Guard presents the colors at the Red Mountain Homecoming assembly. (Lydian Gonzalez/Special to MyNewsMesa.com)

The JROTC battalion at Red Mountain High School hosted several events throughout the state including volunteering opportunities and a Military Ball in December.

Preparing to present the flags, the Red Mountain Color Guard stands at attention. (Lydian Gonzalez/Special to MyNewsMesa.com)

“One thing everybody looks forward to is the Military Ball because they get to see what the military traditions are all about,” JROTC instructor Maj. Olga Cortez said. “It’s like a mini prom for them because they get to dance, and they can invite whomever they want.”

In JROTC, over 90 percent of the cadets earned their service learning last year by participating in events. Some of the events include JROTC Cadet Leadership Camp (JCLC) and Color Guard competitions throughout the state.

“Every event that we attend, a student can earn service learning hours,” Cortez said. “Last year, students who participated in every event earned around 240 service learning hours.”

JROTC also does events such as flag raisings, face paintings with elementary schools and Feed My Starving Children, which is a Christian non-profit organization where people volunteer to help kids in need.

“Participating in Feed My Starving Children was a good experience,” senior and Cadet Justin Heick said. “We all became closer as a battalion, and we helped a bunch of kids. Doing things like Feed My Starving Children gives you a different feeling because you feel better about what you’ve done.”

JROTC is not about recruiting students into the military, it’s meant to help students develop better skills. The events that JROTC participate in helps the cadets become better citizens in a fun and exciting way. The JROTC program is recognized by colleges and perspective employers for its leadership building program. College applications give JROTC experience the same credit as an Eagle Scout award. The program provides students with the discipline, the maturity and the skills needed to be successful in life.

“Our job is not to recruit or send kids to the military, it’s to motivate them to become better citizens,” Cortez said. “It’s about being better citizens and helping the community.”

The Red Mountain JROTC has many events to better the community and make young citizens strong, responsible and confident. To learn more about JROTC, visit Cortez in Room 600p or email her at olgacortez@mpsaz.org.

– Lydian Gonzalez is a freshman at Red Mountain High School in Mesa.

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