JROTC Unit to Close at the End of School Year

The+JROTC+unit+at+SCHS+will+close+at+the+conclusion+of+this+school+year.++
Back to Article
Back to Article

JROTC Unit to Close at the End of School Year

The JROTC unit at SCHS will close at the conclusion of this school year.

The JROTC unit at SCHS will close at the conclusion of this school year.

Photo Submitted by Christina Story

The JROTC unit at SCHS will close at the conclusion of this school year.

Photo Submitted by Christina Story

Photo Submitted by Christina Story

The JROTC unit at SCHS will close at the conclusion of this school year.

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.


Email This Story






The Scott County Board of Education voted to end the JROTC program at Scott County High School at the end of the school year during its meeting on March 21, 2019. The program, which faced elimination, was originally granted at least another year of operation in October after a vote by the Board of Education.  SCHS will lose a program that was valuable to both the students in it and the community that it supported.

Many factors played into the decision to close the JROTC unit now.  One was anticipated enrollment for next school year. Only 51 students enrolled for the 2019-2020 school year, which was deemed to be too low to sustain the program.  Low enrollment was attributed to the splitting of the high schools, as many cadets currently involved will attend Great Crossing High School. Another factor was dwindling interest by students to meet the program’s standards that included wearing a uniform and maintaining a certain level of academic performance. In addition, the unit recently had an inspection from headquarters and received a “does not meet standards” rating.

The end of the program was met with a lot of sadness by both students and staff. For years, they have witnessed many opportunities it offered to students. Larry Gridley, SCHS art teacher, contributed his son’s career choice to the JROTC program. “My oldest son David spent all four years in JROTC and enlisted in the Navy right out of college. He was trained as a nuclear engineer and has had a very successful career in the Navy. He will be retiring in about 4 years and looks forward to starting his own business from his navy training after he retires from the navy.”

JROTC was more than a class at school for students; it became a community. It attracted many students that were not interested in the typical athletics, band, and agriculture or academic extra-curricular options.  JROTC instructor Lt. Col. Garcia witnessed this sense of community firsthand. “The program has become a family for many students. It’s a safe place they could find friends and do activities you can’t find in any other program in the school.”   

The program has become a family for many students. It’s a safe place they could find friends and do activities you can’t find in any other program in the school.”

— Lt. Col Steven Garcia

The program was also a pathway to post-graduate plans by providing students with structure and discipline that are vital to a successful military career. Teachers also recognized that the program helped teach beneficial life skills that adults need.  Garcia said, “Many cadets literally “grew up” in the program and learned lessons that will serve them well in their life after high school. Some went on to serve in the military, go to college, enter the workforce and the vast majority became productive citizens.”

Senior John Craig was a student that benefited from the program as he transitions into his life after high school. He explained, “JROTC has taught me discipline and with the three year completion certificate, I can get a free promotion in the military.”

The impact of JROTC wasn’t just felt by students and teachers. The unit took pride in its commitment to service at school events and in the community. Their efforts never went unnoticed and were greatly appreciated. SCHS English teacher Leslie Murphy said, “JROTC students could always be seen giving back to our school by displaying the colors at athletic events, ushering at school plays and musicals and by helping keep our school grounds clean.  It’s a sad day to see this program come to an end and I’m not sure which group will be stepping up to take on the roles that JROTC held.” 

Pullquote Photo

Many cadets literally “grew up” in the program and learned lessons that will serve them well in their life after high school. Some went on to serve in the military, go to college, enter the workforce and the vast majority became productive citizens.”

— Lt. Col Steven Garcia

Lt. Col. Garcia acknowledged that he will miss his involvement with JROTC.  He said, “I’ll miss the activities we did like Drill Meets, Raiders, Color Guards at Sports events, campouts, Military Ball, etc.  The activities done outside the classroom were very rewarding. I’ll miss the mission of working with students to build citizens of character dedicated to serving their school and our community.” 

With the closing of this program, there is a possibility of a similar program to return once again to Scott County in the future. “I think one, or both, of the high schools are excellent candidates for future JROTC programs.  SCHS cannot reapply for an Air Force unit for 5 years, but I think an Army JROTC program would do quite well. This is “Army country”. There are two forts in KY and over 30 KY Army National Guard facilities in KY. The Army Guard does excellent recruiting at SCHS and gave us great support for the 19 years I’ve been here.” There is also the possibility of starting a Civil Air Patrol (CAP) unit similar to ones in Frankfort and Lexington, but nothing is for certain at this time.