"Before joining the unit... if you asked me what the best decision of my life was... I would tell you its joining the theater company at my middle school. Now, if you asked me the same question I would tell you that the best decision of my life was taking my moms word for how amazing this unit is and deciding to join with only one week until school started. I didn't want to join the unit because I didn't want to wear the uniform... now I don't ever want to take it off! I learned that when you join this unit you instantly make 100+ friends. When you spend up to four years with the same cadets, parents, and instructors you build an amazing bond and they become your 2nd family. I was going through some hard times and didn't have very many friends. But, this unit changes that. The family aspect shows both in and out of school. I have never seen anything like this unit. Only here will you see underclassmen and upperclassmen socialize and be best friends. I always say you're a family if you eat, sleep, laugh, and cry together. I'll give you an example of these. EAT: This is one of the most important part of any field trip we go on. SLEEP: Not very often do you go on overnight field trips each year with some of your best friends in the world. LAUGH: Put a bunch of us cadets in a room together... and you will definitely hear the laughter. CRY: Each cadet is a shoulder to cry on. An example of this is when cadet Lawrence Strawbridge and his mother passed away. We cadets got together and mourned the loss of our 2nd family member. Over 20+ cadets attended the funeral in full service dress uniform. All of these examples show how we are one big happy family. Sure... we fight sometimes. But its like fighting with a family member... we will get over it and solve the problems at hand. I had the idea to start a movie night fundraiser. I suggested the idea to the executive staff and the loved the idea. I had the privilege to coordinate many events like movie night. These opportunities I received from the unit grew my leadership and event execution skills. I will have these kind of skills forever!"
"I joined the unit my sophomore year, and I wish I knew about the unit my freshman year. I'm a part time student at Lafayette, and didn't know about JROTC until my sophomore year of high school. When I did join, I felt the immediate embrace of love from the cadets. As a 2nd year Cadet, I look back on my 1st year and think about the people who shaped me into the person I am today. If I had to use one word to describe the unit, it would be family. I thought that since I joined late, I wouldn't be as included as the cadets who joined a year prior (who were in my grade), but that wasn't the case. No matter their grade, they loved and embraced me. Even though joining the unit late is a big regret of mine, I never feel like it effects the relationship I have with the people I am proud to call my 2nd family members. In this family, you will always have a shoulder to cry on and a friend to laugh with."
“As a child I was often very shy, and did not have many friends. This improved somewhat in Middle School, yet I still found myself on the outside of many social groups, often spending most of my time alone. This improved greatly in High-school with my involvement in extracurricular activities. I didn't join JROTC until the second semester of my Freshman year, a decision I very much regret. I already knew a few people in the unit prior to my involvement, yet I made many new friends, and generally everyone was pleasant and friendly. I love wearing the uniform, as well as the amount of community service activities that I participated in. Volunteering at the Food Bank, learning about Life Skills and Aerodynamic principles with Msgt. Cugier and Lt. Col Smith, and going to Color Guard events, joining JROTC was one of the best decisions I ever made, and if given the chance, I would have joined up as soon as I possibly could.”
"I am loving this program so far the amount of involvement is stunning and I don't mean to sound as though I am trying to flatter you but I wish to get involved in as many activities as possible upon my return. The AFJROTC community is very strong and I have found myself making friends faster than I could think I could make them. For that I thank you. Anyways I look forward to seeing you and colonel Monday and I can't wait to be more involved in activities."
“Throughout elementary and middle school, I was involved in scouting with Cadet Ryan Luedloff. He, being a year older than me and already in the Unit, told me that the Unit was like Boy Scouts but better. He couldn’t have been more correct. The family aspect of this class is unparalleled to any other activity Lafayette has to offer, and the adventures we go on are absolutely amazing. From paintballing, to spending the night at the St. Louis City Museum, to taking a break from the cold Missouri December Weather and go to Florida. The Missouri 81st has something that you will enjoy. Many cadets come into the class with skills that they want to use in an application setting. Last year, we had two singers who sang the national anthem for certain events. We had an artist make posters for JROTC activities. Cadet Ryan Luedloff and I were on tech crew for theater, so we used our skills to set up the theater for our movie night fundraiser and the commons for our Dining Out Ceremony. Not only do you learn new life skills in this class, but you also build upon the skills you already possess. The uniform wear in ROTC is one of my favorite parts of the class. Walking through the halls of Lafayette with a sharp, blue suit makes me feel confident to tackle whatever tests or quizzes I might have that day. It makes me feel a sense of self respect that defines me. JROTC students are simply a different breed of highschooler. Looking back at all the JROTC seniors who graduated, I can’t even think of one who won’t be majorly successful in their life. The skills and knowledge you gain in this class is that valuable. My career in the MO 81st will be the thing that prepares me the most for life after high school.”
"LHS is a better place because of the JROTC program. Our instructors build strong relationships with our students and families. This program is all about learning to work in teams, respecting and supporting each other, and gaining real life experience. Each year students in this program support a multitude of activities that happen at LHS. They work closely with grade level principal's and volunteer 100's of hours to organize the collection of over 25,000 cans for 'Circle of Concern'. Many of our community service efforts would not come to fruition without the help of our dedicated JROTC students and their teachers. Thank you JROTC teachers for helping every Lancer who walks through the doors of your classroom, and teaching them about the value in serving others and caring for each other. I am very proud of our JROTC program".
"The JROTC program at Lafayette is amazing. I am always impressed by this program and learn something new each time I spend time with any of the members. Whenever we need help, volunteers, or just about anything, we can always count on JROTC. We would not be the same school or community without them! My hope is that the program continues to flourish and grow every year".
"The skills that employers and universities most seek in candidates are the skills that are taught in the JROTC program: Leadership, Character, Perseverance, and Independence. I have had the opportunity to see our students flourish in the program at Lafayette. I would encourage any student to become involved in the program."