Q: I'm trying to determine whether or not I want to take JROTC... I'm in other clubs and AP classes. I don't think I will have any time. A: JROTC is a class, not an after school club! Our unit is filled with everyone, from Varsity football members to theatrical actors. JROTC has students from each any every program currently offered at LHS, and the class it self is not an extremely hard class loaded with difficult assignments, we like to have fun while learning and understand that students tend to have homework from the majority of their other classes. Our class schedule is extremely flexible and can work around any AP/other class a student would have.
Q: I know my son/daughter is already in JROTC, but what does this mean for the military? Are they obligated in any way to serve? A: While our AFJROTC unit is sponsored and funded by the United States Air Force, we have absolutely no obligation to the military and the vast majority of students in our unit choose not to enlist. Our objective is foremost to engage students to influence them to think, make decisions, and of course to encourage them to become better citizens. We do recognize that daily associations with our class can influence a student's interest in joining the military, and thus if they do express an interest in joining we can help advise them on the pros/cons of doing so as well as connect them to a multitude of recruiters. In some cases military recruiters will come to speak with our cadets, but it is directed towards important or interesting lessons like Land Navigation vs. actually recruiting, which is done completely outside of the physical class period if the student is interested. Cadets are not forced to be exposed around recruiters, and once again we have absolutely no obligation towards the military.
Q: How do parents and students address the instructors? A: Our interface with parents and students is very simple. Parents can address the instructor by his title, "Senior Master Sergeant Zahradka" or by his first name "Matt". As for students, the instructors won't answer to "hey dude", it is usually either "Sergeant" or "Sarge", never their first or last names alone without rank. They also can simply say "sir".
Q: Will my son or daughter need a haircut – military style? A: Hair is a factor in uniform wear. Just like the business world, we have standards. We cannot make them cut it. Conversely, we cannot automatically award them a good uniform wear grade if they do not have a professional appearance in uniform. We certainly discuss grooming standards with male/female cadets and work with them to understand where we are coming from. We are not looking for skinheads, just well groomed young men and women. Grades and hair – more specifically, our assessments are based on academics, life skill lessons, PE/wellness, community service and uniform wear. An "A" is always attainable but some students choose to do less.
Q: What type of uniform will my son/daughter wear? A: Uniform wear is the first A-Day of each week unless we indicate otherwise. We have three types of uniform days. Full Service Dress, ABU Uniform, and PT Uniform day. Cadets are issued an Air Force uniform, an Air Force t-shirt, sweatshirt, and sweatpants, and an ABU uniform at NO cost when they join. Uniform grades are 1/3 (34%) of a cadets grade. It is all about following rules, wearing appropriate clothing when required and when worn, it is clean.
Q: When is the uniform required? A: Uniforms are issued at no cost to new students during their first semester in JROTC. It is given as a right of passage. Uniforms are required to be worn on the First A-Day of each week unless designated otherwise, and during many JROTC events. Cadets that may have to dress a certain way for another club can make up their uniform day at some point throughout the week or change after their JROTC class period.
Q: Do they wear their uniform to school or change into it while at school? A: Uniform is worn to school all day on the first A-Day of the week unless indicated otherwise . It can be changed out for a PE or Shop class period only. If we find out from senior cadet leaders or teachers that someone does not wear the uniform all day or disrespects the uniform during the day, the uniform grade will be affected. Please note that uniform wear accounts for 1/3 (34%) of a student’s grade – our message – learn how, when, and where to dress for success.
Q: Are there ranks for students and if so, how do you advance? A: Ranks run from Cadet/Airman Basic through Cadet/Colonel. Ranks are posted in the classroom. Rank advancement occurs via promotion boards. It is like a job interview in front of senior cadet leadership. For some new and older cadets, promotion boards can be intimidating, but that is good practice for the real world. For new cadets and freshman, a promotion is almost automatic following their first promotion board. Subsequent promotions are not. For example, if they do not wear the uniform, have excessive tardies/absences, poor classroom behavior or a school suspension, we do not reward them with a promotion. Again, real world consequences. Cadets can also rank up by receiving the cadet of the month award.
Q: Can you explain exactly what Drill Team is? A: Drill is like any sport team, but only JROTC cadets can participate. There is a number of different types of drill teams ALL ARE OPTIONAL. Regulation drill is the standard, basic drill group where new cadets are usually pointed to. Exhibition drill uses the same commands as Regulation, but with a choreographed routine much like a band performance where cadets move in different directions and then reassemble in their original formation. Typically, these teams compete in three competitions per year located in Florida, Joplin, MO and St. Louis. Drill Teams also include Color Guard/Honor Guard, rifle/saber, and Armed/Unarmed teams. Anyone can tryout and selection requires after school practice/commitment. Failure to make practices can result in removal from the teams. If a team member must make up schoolwork or a test after school, exceptions are made accordingly. If they have a job after school, we can be flexible up to a point – it is the student’s responsibility to make the commitment and arrange workarounds when necessary.
Q: How often are Drill Team practices; what happens if you miss a practice; is there a way to find out about students who can carpool after practice? A: Practices are scheduled by Senior Master Sergeant Zahradka or the drill team commander/coordinator. They are typically after school on campus and posted in the classroom on a weekly basis (typically 45-60 minutes in length). As to missed practices – just like any sport/club program, too many absences can affect teamwork and performance outcomes. We track absences and frequency can lead to removal from the teams. Car pooling is up to the students/parents to arrange.
Q: What is this trip to Florida all about? A: Each year we compete in a drill competition near Daytona Beach Florida. Cadets leave on a Wednesday and return on Monday. Cadets travel in a charter bus and sleep on the bus overnight. Cadets arrive in Daytona early Thursday morning. After stopping for breakfast, cadets follow tradition and watch the movie Christmas vacation and travel all the way to the Daytona Beach Inn Resort. Cadets have the entire day to themselves to relax, go for a swim, hangout in their hotel rooms, and of course enjoy their ocean view. The next day cadets spend the day at the Worlds Largest Flea Market, the Daytona Beach Flea Market. The day after that is the drill competition. Our regulation, exhibition, and color guard team compete against other high school JROTC teams from around the United States. The next day is the day we leave. The unit participates in a two mile beach run/walk to work off all the junk food eaten in the units hospitality room manned by the parent boosters. Next the cadets compete in the cleanest room competition for a money prize presented to the winning room, and then head home and arrive back to LHS early Monday morning. In years past, we also visited the Kennedy space center for an entire day, in which case we leave a day early.
Q: I’ve heard about Booster Clubs before. Is the JROTC Parents Association considered a Booster Club? A: Yes, the Parents Association is our booster club and meets monthly. Parent involvement and talents are appreciated. The Parents Association's main goal is to support the unit when needed. And the P.A also raises funds for new events, opportunity's, new technology, and most importantly scholarships for seniors.
Q: Do dads get involved? A: We do not discriminate on gender. Many dads are involved in the boosters.
Q: Is there a website for parents to view upcoming activities and learn a little about what each activity is? A: The official website for the unit is https://www.lafayette-rotc.com. This is where our unit calendar and other important information is located. Cadets and their parents can also access a private password protected page.