ROTC receives award of distinction
For the Nevada Appeal
Carson High School’s Naval Junior ROTC program has been helping prepare students for leadership roles since 1974, but this year’s class stands out.
The unit was recognized as a distinguished division over 60 other Western U.S. programs by the U.S. Navy.
According to Cmdr. Charles “Skip” Cannady, there are a lot of factors that went into achieving the honor, from enrollment and extracurricular activities to more than a thousand hours community service.
One of the most unusual achievements is the appointment of two seniors to the U.S. Naval Academy – both Chad Shroy and Andrew Stephenson will enter the Naval Academy by appointment after graduation.
“We’ve never had that before,” said Cannady.
Shroy, Stephenson and Jamie Greene are all unit leaders this year. Greene plans to attend Northwestern Community College for a semester to study engineering before joining his classmates at the Naval Academy.
Shroy says joining the JROTC program, which he attends several times a week as a class as well as participating in after-school activities, was an easy choice for him.
“I’ve always wanted a military career,” he said. “I thought that this would be good training.”
The young men say they are honored by the distinction.
“There’s definitely a lot of hard work that goes into it,” Stephenson said, noting one of the most important parts is “influencing the community in a positive way.”
In some ways, Shroy said, the distinction is “a pat on the back.” He said, “It’s just a way to kind of tell us that we did a good job.”
All three expect their experiences in the program to assist not only with their naval careers, but broader experiences as well.
“We keep in touch with a lot of former cadets,” Shroy said, noting many of them are now excelling at college or within the companies they work. “It’s definitely a beneficial program,” he added.
For Stephenson, the most important skills gained from the JROTC are “integrity, initiative and citizenship.”
Their instructors agree.
Leadership, according to Sgt. Maj. Wayne Baker, is one of the most important lessons for upperclassmen in the program, while citizenship is integral to the underclassmen.
“It teaches them accountability – being responsible for themselves and what they do,” said Cannady.
There are 110 students in the program this year, approximately 35 percent of them women, according to Cannady. He expects 125 students next year.
The young men speak highly of their instructors Cannady and Baker.
From Cannady’s broad range of experience to Baker’s “unwavering professionalism,” the cadets agree they have been lucky in the instructors they had.