A partnership with Prescott High School has allowed 16 Bradshaw Mountain High School students to participate in Air Force JROTC this year under the leadership of retired Col. Denny Peeples. This past year, the first for the high school, one Bradshaw student took part in the Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps.
The 16 cadets - 12 boys and 4 girls - attend an elective course on Monday evenings at the ROTC leadership lab and take an online course as independent study.
Bradshaw's Assistant Principal Melissa Tannehill, a former ROTC member (Shadow Mountain High School) and Army veteran, is the school's ROTC mentor.
"I am knowledgeable about the program, so with those 16 cadets, I can help them stay organized and on track," Tannehill said. "We are kind of a sub-group not our own program or flight, but have our own group on campus."
The BMHS JROTC Color Guard presented the colors for the first time at the homecoming football game. After the fall break, students will conduct an honor guard at the flagpole for reveille around 7:30 a.m. and again for retreat at 2:15 p.m. with two groups of two to four students at a time.
This is one activity that helps first-year cadets earn their Air Force uniforms, Tannehill said.
These cadets do service projects and learn military customs to earn points and grades that lead to acquiring a uniform. The honor guard is part of that.
"Col. Peeples would like the students to understand the military bearings of respect and those kinds of things before he hands out uniforms," she said.
Bradshaw's cadets include senior Tyler Silva, an honor student taking Advanced Placement classes, to freshman just beginning to get involved in the school, Tannehill said. Liam Withers, the sole second-year cadet on campus, earned his uniform and is the color guard commander.
"My job as mentor is to support them learning the customs and courtesies, to organize almost like a club on campus, and to keep them on track academically with the online class," Tannehill said.
Some students take part in the program for the leadership skills; some have an interest in a military career. JROTC students who complete four years go into the military at a higher rank.
"I went into the Army as a private first class, E3. All the branches except the Marine Corps allow ROTC students to go in as an E3; the Marine Corps is an E2," she said, adding that the E3 rank has a financial benefit. "Only 5 percent of cadets actually join the military after ROTC."
Other advantages are the leadership and public speaking skills, how to write resumes and applications, and high standards for student discipline.
"Whether you're planning for the military or college or work force, it just prepares students with leadership skill to take beyond high school life," Tannehill said.