Students get a jump on military curriculum

By Erica Quednau |

Published 12/17 2013 11:05AM

Updated 12/17 2013 11:10AM

DANVILLE -- It's not your typical high school curriculum, but a new class at Danville High School is getting students excited. Last semester, they started the Junior ROTC program. Since then, more and more students are signing up. WCIA-3's Erica Quednau finds out how the class works.

Just like your everyday math or science class, one period a day, five days a week, students attend. But, instead of learning algebra or physics, they learn to be a better citizens. They're the future of our country, focusing 50 minutes each school day on citizenship and patriotism.

"It feels wonderful."

Bart Hayes has been a Jr. Cadet since the program started.

"Going on two years now. This is my second year. I've been looking into the military since I was a freshman in high school and I'm getting so close. We have about six, seven months until we graduate."

But, military prep isn't all this class is about.

"The leadership traits that we teach them, they can use them anywhere that they go."

Sergeant Major Emas P. Griffin and Lieutenant Colonel Tim Merriott do that through five days of work, two days of PE, one day of drill and two days of Army education.

"Teach them selflessness, selfless service, to serve their community."

"We've done different things like help rake yards for the daughters of the American Revolution. We've helped serve chili at the American Legion; serve ham and beans at the VFW."

"I started off as a freshman. I was kind of messing around. Failed almost all of my classes. Now, I know what I need to do to graduate."

Not just with better grades, but as a better person.

"Everyday, I'm learning, just like they're learning. I'm becoming, hopefully, a better instructor just like they're becoming better citizens."

"It gives you a sense of that, yeah, you were the first one to do this and we made it. We all made it."

The class is meant to be a four-year program; a different level for each year of school. Right now, 180 cadets are in the class, but Col. Merriott says he'd be surprised if there weren't more than 300 as the program continues.

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