Laurens District 55 High School NJROTC Program Challenges Students Physically and MentallyMay 4, 2023
The Navy Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps (NJROTC) Program is a curriculum emphasizing citizenship and leadership development. It teaches maritime heritage and naval topics. Students in the program also engage in community service, drills, and other military training. Established by Public Law in 1964, the United States Navy funds the program.
The Laurens District 55 High School (LDHS) NJROTC program in Laurens County School District 55 (LCSD 55) challenges students physically and mentally. LDHS NJROTC LCDR Commander Corey Politino and Senior Chief Armond Flood hold students to high expectations, which students live up to.
On Thursday, April 20, 2023, the LDHS NJROTC had an Annual Military Inspection (AMI). Navy officers conducted the inspection and cadets presented their marching formation and drill pass and review. The AMI is conducted annually to ensure each NJROTC unit maintains the Navy’s standards. The LDHS NJROTC passed their AMI. Five freshman female Naval Cadets- Jalissa Irby, Ayanna Singleton, Chrishamti Evans, Johnae Clardy, and Angela Sprouse, were given special recognition for Outstanding Personal Appearance.
From April 25-27, 2023, the LDHS NJROTC Naval Cadets went on a field trip. The students toured the South Carolina Capitol Building in Columbia on their way to the Marine Corps Recruitment Depot in Parris Island. The students spent two nights on Parris Island and experienced first-hand intense marine training. They engaged in military exercises, such as rope and wall climbing that required problem-solving skills, physical fitness, and teamwork to accomplish. After the grueling training in Parris Island, the students had the opportunity to visit the University of South Carolina (USC) in Columbia and learn about their ROTC program.
Baylan Harlan, LDHS NJROTC 10th-grade Naval Cadet and Color Guard Commander said, “The one thing I think that was most positive about the Parris Island trip is the team building skills. We did a lot of drills and tasks that required us to use our team skills. This is instilling values in us that we will use for the rest of our lives. Our stop at USC was a big eye opener as to what college has to offer to NJROTC cadets.”
LDHS NJROTC volunteer Paula Tehune is the parent of Naval Cadet Baylan Harlan and expressed her admiration for all LDHS NJROTC students and the program. “This is a student-led program that requires the cadets to have the personal discipline and responsibility to succeed,” said Tehune. “This program is a course about citizenship. It’s about confidence building and leadership abilities that will serve them throughout their lives,” added Tehune.
Tehune also praised Commander Politino and Senior Flood for their leadership in the LDHS NJROTC program. She said, “Both LCDR Commander Politino and Senior Chief Flood are excellent leaders for this program. Their knowledge and experience are always a plus however, I believe that their ability to engage and relate to each student individually is remarkable.”
Senior Chief Armond Flood stated, “It’s been a tough and challenging year due to having two new instructors who are new to LDHS. We’re adapting to the culture and shaping culture at the same time. I tell the cadets all the time that we don’t become a family or unit during the school day, but outside of the school and normal working hours is where our unity and family bonds come together. Over the three days at Parris Island, I saw cadets cry, become angry, and saw their confidence grow. It was amazing to see the transformation when we were all done when they conquered their fear, and we accomplished something together.”
Laurens County School District 55 Superintendent Dr. Ameca C. Thomas also expressed her admiration for the LDHS NJROTC. “NJROTC cadets consistently demonstrate excellent leadership skills, dedication, and commitment to our school community. Their performance was admirable, reflecting the hard work and training they have put in throughout the year. We are proud of their achievements and grateful for their service to our school and community. I want to offer a special thanks to Mr. Compton, Commander Politino, and Senior Chief Flood for their dedication to the program and our students,” said Dr. Thomas.