Junior ROTC: Dispelling Some of the Myths

Junior ROTC: Partnership between Army and School

Junior ROTC

Cadet Aidan Chambers runs the SMA flag at a football game.

While many have heard about Junior ROTC, I’d like to provide some details about our program and dispel a few myths in hopes of gaining more interest and participation in Junior ROTC.

Junior ROTC is a program established by Congress in 1916.  It is a partnership between the Army and the school and incorporates an accredited curriculum that teaches students (Cadets) character education, student achievement, wellness, leadership, and diversity. Collectively, these lessons motivate Cadets to be better citizens. In addition to promoting citizenship, Junior ROTC also prepares Cadets for post-secondary options including college or the workforce.

Junior ROTC is NOT a recruiting platform.  While the military and its role in our Nation’s defense is a topic in Junior ROTC, only an average of 33% of all graduating Cadets enter into military service, and no one pressures them into such service.  In any case, the lessons, principles and experiences presented in JROTC are of value in any and all career fields and benefit our Nation as a whole.

Junior ROTC Cadet Creed

At the center of our curriculum is the Cadet Creed:

  • I am an Army Junior ROTC Cadet.
  • I will always conduct myself to bring credit to my family, country, school and the Corps of Cadets.
  • I am loyal and patriotic.
  • I am the future of the United States of America.
  • I do not lie, cheat or steal and will always be accountable for my actions and deeds.
  • I will always practice good citizenship and patriotism.
  • I will work hard to improve my mind and strengthen my body.
  • I will seek the mantle of leadership and stand prepared to uphold the Constitution and the American way of life.
  • May God grant me the strength to always live by this creed.
Junior ROTC 2

A leadership camp experience in the fall of 2018.

Qualified retired Army personnel, employed by the schools, facilitate and teach the curriculum. Junior ROTC teacher qualifications are based on military experience, maturity, stability, and leadership acquired over 20 years of service to our nation. To safeguard the viability of the Junior ROTC program, the Department of Defense (DoD) and the Department of Education endorse the proposition that states recognize that JROTC instructors have the certification to teach Junior ROTC and the array of subject areas embedded (e.g., Physical Education, Health/Wellness, Civics, etc.).

Junior ROTC: Who Can Participate?

Participation in SMA Junior ROTC is open to all Upper School students, International or American, day or boarding, boys or girls.  It only requires a daily class period, with the addition of about two events per semester outside of the school day.  These additional events at SMA are the Veteran’s Day Parade, the Military Ball and two promotion/awards ceremonies per semester.  Other than that, any other after school co-curricular events and activities are purely voluntary.  At SMA that includes the Color Guard, Sabre Guard (Homecoming only), rifle team and Academic teams.

Junior ROTC

The Bear Battalion marches in the 2018 Veterans Day parade in San Marcos.

The Army loans all uniforms to the Cadets free of charge.  There are a few fees for the Battalion t-shirt, name tape and the military ball.  Some camps also require a small fee, but those are voluntary only and in many cases the JROTC program pays these fees.

While Junior ROTC is not run like a military school or a boot camp, basic principles of discipline, respect and adherence to the values in the Cadet Creed are central to the success of the program and the Cadets.  Instructors take active measures to coach the Cadets along on a path to success, and cadets receive rewards and recognition through advancement in rank and presentation of citations, medals and ribbons.  Additionally, Cadets who demonstrate strong interest and leadership aptitude have opportunities to excel in increasingly challenging leadership and staff positions.

Junior ROTC: Academic Benefits

Junior ROTC 4

Some cadets in their dress uniforms.

Academically speaking, Junior ROTC is recognized worldwide by Colleges and Universities and is highly regarded in the selection process for admissions and scholarships.  Additionally, SMA offers an honors credit option in JROTC.

For questions pertaining to JROTC and participation in our program, please don’t hesitate to ask me in person or at CianciottoL@smabears.org


By LTC Leonard Cianciotto, “Colonel C”