Dynamic And Supportive Learning Environment Coupled With Excellent Community Outreach
A hush falls over the crowd as they walk through the door. All eyes follow the four students as they march in unison to the center of the court for the playing of the national anthem. Then again silence as the four march to the end of the court. When it is reached a roar and applause erupt from the crowd. This is our AFJROTC Color Guard, participating in another community event. The Lyons High School AFJROTC is involved in activities that help develop personal scholarship, leadership, character, and service. Each cadet investigates their own character based on integrity, discipline, and loyalty. They also learn about the Air Force’s core values: Integrity First, Service Before Self, and Excellence In All We Do. Through hard work and commitment, they learn a great deal about themselves and the program. Family, friends, teachers, and peers are proud of the class’s accomplishments – more importantly, the cadets are proud as well.
“We are proud of the team building and activities that represent us as JROTC,” said a cadet. The older cadet work with younger cadets to help them with homework or assignments “These guys do their best to keep their grades up to be able to participate in color guard for parades or group trips.”
Participation in AFJROTC carries no military obligation whatsoever. As non-core credit elective classes, the guidance from the Air Force is to devote 40% of class time to Aerospace Science, 40% to Leadership Education, and 20% to Wellness. Courses include a focus on: social science, communication skills, elements of good citizenship and leadership, aviation history and science, space science, and fitness improvement. The life skills and career opportunities course is helpful to students in deciding which path to take after high school. The course includes: how to apply for admission to a college or a vocational or technical school, financial planning sponsored by the National Endowment for Financial Education (NEFE), real-life issues, how to prepare a résumé and the importance of good interviewing skills to name a few. All students enrolled in an AFJROTC class are also eligible to participate in extracurricular activities such as color guard, armed and unarmed drill teams, and field trips to aerospace-related destinations.
The JROTC began in Lyons during the 2006-2007 school year. Former LMS principal, Glenn Fortmayer, has been credited for being instrumental in the creation of the organization. The group has the distinction as being the smallest school in the nation with a JROTC program, though the group pales in size they make up for it in activities. Cadets have participated in 1,100 hours of community service so far and have set their goal at 2,500 hours by the end of this school year. The club averages an impressive 2,200 hours of community service each year. Some of the projects the organization participates in include: hosting the American Red Cross Blood Drive each year, putting flags around the square for all patriotic holidays, helping with the annual Goodfellows Christmas food drive, and helping out at the local Thrift store. The cadets also present a color guard for all high school and middle school football, basketball and baseball games. They also have taken field trips, to Louisiana, Colorado, Oklahoma, community service and educational activities based trips, Cosmosphere, Aviation Science Museum, The National Memorial, and the 45th Infantry Museum.
Their higher visibility within the school and the community requires cadets to adhere to higher standards than might normally be found among the student population.
“JROTC teaches you leadership and team building skills,” a cadet said.
Students quickly realize that others expect them to abide by an additional set of standards. Not only Lyons High School students are involved in this program, students from Chase, Little River and Sterling have participated as well. Cadets wear the uniform of the United States Air Force (USAF) and, although they are not in the USAF, members of the JROTC automatically become one of its representatives in the school, neighborhood, and local area, in and out of uniform.
Students who enroll in JROTC can earn extra stripes for the number of years they take the class in high school should they decide to enlist in any branch of the military following graduation.
The Air Force Junior ROTC instructor and cadets of Lyons High School were recently audited and earned an overall unit assessment score of “Exceeds Standards,” the highest rating attainable. According to TSgt. Eskut, “The Lyons High School cadets performed exceptionally well and took great pride in leading and accomplishing their unit goals.”
Eskut creates a dynamic and supportive learning environment coupled with excellent community outreach.
“The class helps teach us discipline and respect,” a cadet said. “Sergeant Eskut knows his stuff…he isn’t just reading it. He helps with speeches and has us talk in front of the class.”
TSgt Eskut provides outstanding leadership in administering the cadet centered citizenship program through community service events, classroom instruction, and drill and ceremonies. One student each month is eligible for the “Cadet of the Month,” which includes a certificate and a $50 gift card. In addition, a student is chosen for the Cadet of the Semester and awarded a certificate and a $100 gift card. Teamwork is also a big part of what these students learn. “We all work together to complete many of the assignments and help one another,” a cadet added.
The Lyons High School Air Force Junior ROTC citizenship program is making a positive impact on the school, community, and cadets. They are building relationships through teamwork and welcoming students into a positive group where they can help one another to grow in character.
“When you join AFJROTC, you are joining a family--The AFJROTC Family,” TSgt Eskut said. “Once you join, you will forever thereafter be considered a member of The Family and be welcomed, one and all.
If any high school student in Rice County is interested in joining the AFJROTC, they are invited to speak with TSgt. Eskut, Sherry Pruter or contact the high school office at 257-5114.
2022 Military Ball