Junior ROTC (Reserve Officer Training Corps) is an elective high school course taught by retired military personnel at selected private and public high schools in the United States and its territories. The James S. Rickards Junior ROTC program is the largest Army sponsored unit in Leon County with an average enrollment of over 140 cadets. The "Raider Battalion" is also one of the nation's best Junior ROTC programs, having earned the designation from the Department of the Army as an "Honor Unit with Distinction." This award is reserved for the top 20% of junior ROTC programs earning a minimum of 94% on their annual unit inspection and unit report of activities and service.
"To motivate young people to be better citizens"
To accomplish this mission, the program combines classroom instruction and extracurricular activities oriented on attaining an awareness of the rights, responsibilities, and privileges of citizenship; developing the student's sense of responsibility; building life skills; and providing leadership training and opportunities. The program emphasizes building character traits that will help students survive and succeed in an increasingly complex world.
- Communications Skills
- Leadership Skills
- Physical Fitness
- First Aid and Drug Abuse Awareness
- History and Citizenship
- Technology Awareness
- Map Reading and Geography
- Life Skills and Financial Planning
The program is led by an experienced Army field grade officer and a non-commissioned officer. The officer and NCO serve as mentors, coaches, role models, and counselors to cadets as they pass through the four years of JROTC training. The curriculum encompasses a broad spectrum of subjects, including:
Junior ROTC awards academic grades and credits, but its true measure of success is the young people it motivates to stay in school and graduate, developing within them the confidence in their self to avoid drugs, violence and other negative peer pressures, and to attain life skills that enhance success after graduation.
The Junior ROTC program not only provides a wholesome patriotic activity for cadets, but it can also lead to college scholarships. Four-year Senior ROTC scholarships are available to college-bound cadets who qualify. The merit-based scholarships can be awarded in amounts up to $20,000 per year and may be taken to any college of the cadets' choosing.
Extra Curricular Activities
The James S. Rickards Junior ROTC program sponsors several after-school activities in which the cadets may participate, including the Regulation Drill Teams, and the Color Guard. Each team meets at least once a week for one to two hours. The Drill Teams and Color Guard perform at community and school events such as parades, home football and basketball games, and cultural heritage events. Other activities such as field trips, orientation, trips to military installations, and the annual summer JROTC Leadership camp are also available to interested cadets.