A meeting at the MWISD administration offices July 17 brought together MWISD Superintendent Gail Haterius; Assistant Superintendent Jay Walsworth; MWHS Principal Jon Almeida; Mayor Mike Allen; AMVETS Post 133 Commander Jim Vines; retired Army Lt. Col. Richard Crossley, director of JROTC for Fort Worth ISD; and retired Army Lt. Col. Stan Murphy, a 1980 Mineral Wells High School graduate and trained JROTC instructor. If the program gets installed, Murphy would be the full-time instructor.
The meeting concentrated on two key areas, curriculum and the benefits for the students. Those benefits would be preparing students for college by building and meeting college requirements such as SAT and ACT, communication skills, thinking skills and writing effective resumes, The concentration would be in areas such as history, government Financial skills and geography.
On the individual side, the program would help build character, confidence and teamwork as well as implementation of better nutrition and physical skills. Students would be presented with strong role models by having them participate in civic and veterans group activities.
Almeida confirmed that classroom space and marching drill areas would be available. Costs would include instructor’s salary, uniforms and miscellaneous items such as rifles.
Once the program is installed in the district, costs are split between the district and funding from the Department of Defense.
“I was surprised when I came here we didn’t have one,” Haterius said. “I would support having a JROTC program at the high school, given such a program benefits the students who participate, the schools and the community. Initial steps in getting the program started would include generating interest among students and generating the money to get the program started.”
Vines suggested a school assembly during the third week in September with a PowerPoint presentation by Crossley and high school JROTC students from Fort Worth to speak about the effect on them being in the program. He suggested finalizing the assembly with a marching and drill performance.
:To see their peers dressed and performing will get them highly excited and motivated to become interested,” Vines said. “Roughly 8 to 10 percent of the graduates go onto military service. That’s OK, because the remaining 80 to 90 percent of the students go to college. Isn’t that what its all about?”
A unanimous consensus by the group will concentrate on September’s school assembly and see what kind of interest can be developed.
“The program has to start with 50 students and within two years have an enrollment of 100,” said Crossley. “I guarantee you that we will exceed the required number to start this program.”
“The city of Mineral Wells will do whatever it takes to support this effort,” Allen, a JROTC high school and college graduate, said.
“In possibly the next year or so, Mineral Wells High School students might have a new organization to join,” said Vines. “Let’s all get on this bandwagon and make it work. See you in September.”