ROTC sets new goal with $7K donation
SHENANDOAH JUNCTION – Cadets of Jefferson High School’s Air Force Junior ROTC program raised $6, 860.29 for the Jefferson County Shoe and Coat Fund.
Lisa Carper, Jefferson County Schools’ social worker, manages the fund to provide new outerwear to school children who need them. While the intent is to help children stay warm, sometimes she uses the fund to provide food and diapers.
The cadet leaders set a goal of $2,700 and headed up this community service project. There are nine AFJROTC classes, called flights, and each agreed they could raise their share of the goal – $300.
All members of the cadet corps were on hand December 18 when the cadet leaders presented the donation to Carper inside the main entrance of Jefferson High School. On receiving the donation Carper said, “”This is awesome! But really, your goal was reached because of who each of you are as people, more than to what organization you belong to.” She continued by explaining of her experience with Jefferson AFJROTC over the years and her understanding of how AFJROTC develops citizens of character. “Good character is established with one small step at a time. This is one of those steps.”
“I wish I could take you with me so you could see the looks and the tears of the people this will help,” Carper continued. “You are helping make people warm-you give everyone dignity by your gift. I receive calls everyday from people who ask for help, and you have given much help here. Thank you.”
In opening the presentation ceremony, Cadet Colonel Corey Mason, the Cadet Group Commander addressed his fellow cadets commenting on how very proud he was of every one of them for their work so far this year. “When I was a freshman we set a record by contributing $4,328.77. With the economy the way it is, the cadet leaders thought our goal of $2,700 was a bit of a stretch. Well, you proved us wrong because we’ve set a new record.
Mason continued, “You’ve worked hard. You’ve reached into your own pockets and asked your teachers, family, friends, and neighbors to help make a difference. For some of you you’ve had to get up the courage just to ask. For others you’ve dealt with rejection by being told, ‘No’. You might not realize it but you’ve grown as a person by this experience, and that’s a good thing!
Cadet, Michael Spencer, is one such cadet. He donated all of his small monthly allowance and went out three times in his neighborhood asking for support for the fund.
Another cadet, Steven Fernandez added, “I learned that even in tough times, members of this community will come together to help others in need.”
“Our unit’s motto is ‘Scholarship, Leadership, Citizenship’,” said Master Sergeant Stephanie Poe an Air Force Junior ROTC instructor. “This project is just one example of our cadets’ character; they are on their way to become the leaders and citizens of our community and nation.”
Poe continued by explaining that cadets have performed more than 800 hours of community service in 26 events since August. Additionally since returning from Thanksgiving, cadets organized a Red Cross Blood Drive at the school where 58 units of blood were collected, and sent holiday greeting cards to service men and women serving in combat.
Jefferson High School’s Air Force Junior ROTC program was established in 2002, and is one of the premier Air Force Junior ROTC programs in the nation having earned the Air Force Distinguished Unit Award every year-seven times in a row. Of the 884 programs worldwide, less than 50 can make a similar claim.
“Air Force Junior ROTC at Jefferson High School is a fantastic program,” commented Principal Howard Guth. “Not only do the cadets do great service for the community. They are great students.”
Guth continued, “sometimes I hear people comment negatively about today’s young people, I’m very impressed with what I see them doing-they have intelligence, they have passion, they care, and they make good things happen These cadets and what they accomplished today is just an example of what I see daily at Jefferson. We should all be proud of them”