ARLINGTON- Arlington High School’s Air Force Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps received an “Exceeds Standards” rating during an evaluation Oct. 29.
Last year, there were only 77 cadets in the program, and the Air Force informed the school that the program would close last June since it didn’t meet the 100 cadet minimum.
Arlington Schools Superintendent Chrys Sweeting sent a letter to the Air Force in December 2017 asking for more time to recruit cadets. The Air Force extended the deadline to last month. Thanks to an outreach effort this past year, the program has grown to 103 cadets.
“Looking at where we were last year at this time, it’s remarkable that we were able to receive exemplary scores from the inspection in October,” AHS Principal Duane Fish said Tuesday. “I attribute this to the program’s instructor, Major Mike Blue, and his focus on the program and his outreach efforts.”
Over the past year, Blue, cadets, their families and others mobilized outreach efforts to draw more students to the program. They reached out to middle schoolers, freshmen and also recruited students from the Lakewood School District, which doesn’t have a JROTC program.
In addition, Blue visited science classrooms to encourage students to take “Science of Flight,” which is the AFJROTC science class.
“It’s definitely been a total team effort, from the cadets and their parents to the Arlington High School administration and especially our counseling staff,” said Blue, Arlington High School senior aerospace science instructor.
“We felt a true sense of urgency,” he said. “We focused on what makes JROTC unique, fun and exciting, and then brought those ideas to the forefront of our outreach efforts.”
He called the new cadet corps outstanding. In under 45 days, 52 new students completed all their requirements to earn the right to wear an Air Force JROTC uniform. The headquarter’s inspector said it was an amazing effort moving forward for our long-term future at Arlington High School.”