5 cadets from Apache Junction Navy JROTC program selected to attend  Armed Forces Officers Day luncheon

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Five cadets from Apache Junction High School’s Navy Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps program were recently selected to attend an Armed Forces Officers Day luncheon at Scottsdale’s McCormick Ranch.

Cadets Craig Byrd, Heather Quirk, Hayden Pride, Jose Brinnon and Daniel Marquez heard guest speakers, took part in simulators, mingled with Academy and College ROTC representatives and enjoyed a special luncheon. Veterans --- some who served from as far back as World War II --- were on hand to talk to the cadets and offer advice, according to a release.

Cadets were selected based on their potential for continued service in the Armed Forces, particularly as leaders. The AJHS program had more cadets that fit the criteria, but were limited to choosing only five to attend the event.

The AJHS NJROTC program has won numerous awards and has been designated by the Navy as one of the top programs in the nation. The program offers cadets a year-round educational opportunity with training and trips to military bases such as San Diego and Pearl Harbor Hawaii during breaks and the summer months.

However, due partially to declining enrollment, AJHS is in danger of losing the Navy JROTC program unless more students join. AJHS students can sign up now for the spring semester, the release states.

“While the skills gained from the NJROTC program will have a significant, positive and long-lasting impact on a student’s success --- regardless of profession or occupation --- there is no requirement, implied or otherwise to join the military,” Lt. Cmdr. Gary Lock USN (retired), who oversees the high school’s program, said in the release. “We encourage everyone to help spread the word and encourage students to join our award-winning program.”

The JROTC program started in 1916 and AJHS received a unit in 1996. Congress currently limits the program (Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps) to 3,500 high schools. No new schools are being funded and 600 schools are currently on the Navy waiting list for the program.

For more information contact Lock at glock@goaj.org or call 480-982-1110 ext. 5347.

Registration for all new students who wish to enroll in Apache Junction Unified School District schools is currently being accepted online and at all school locations. For more information about AJUSD or its schools or departments visit www.ajusd.org.

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