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Youths Still Need JROTC, They Say

Counselors refer some Los Angeles students to JROTC in an effort to improve their grades and attitudes.

The Army Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (JROTC) program serves 17 high schools in Los Angeles and well over 1,000 nationwide.

One of those students is Susy Gomez, a sophomore at West Adams Preparatory High School, whose grades have shown improvement since her enrollment.

She says a large part of her success in the program is due to the motivation and encouragement of her instructor, Sgt. 1st Class Dwayne Wooten.

Many of the 4,000-plus students enrolled in the program throughout the school district have elected to join voluntarily.

JROTC aims to motivate students through classes in leadership skills and physical education to prepare them for the working world after graduation, said Lt. Col. Ted A. McDonald, a director of the LAUSD JROTC program.

Though some students continue with college ROTC programs or enlist in the armed forces after graduation, the program’s goal is not to encourage students to enlist, he said. Instead, JROTC offers students the structure and discipline they may need to succeed in a challenging school environment, McDonald said.

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