Pacheco High School has initiated a JROTC (Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps) program this year, which is slowly making its presence known on campus.

JROTC has been a part of American high schools since the National Defense Act of 1916 established it. According to the JROTC website, “Public and private educational institutions apply for JROTC units and commit to share costs and meet program requirements.”

Pacheco High School Principal Daniel Sutton comes from a JROTC background, so he is very fond of the program.

He was part of the AFJROTC (Air Force JROTC) in his high school days. He said he experienced self-discipline and earned a sense of pride, honesty, integrity and accomplishment.

“By developing these qualities,” Sutton said, “I made a decision to serve my country by enlisting in the U.S. Navy, where I served for eight years.”

Sutton believes the program will do the same for Pacheco High School students. There is a sense of pride being part of the program, he said. It gives students a respect for the history of our country, and it helps them develop honesty and integrity as well.

“As a product of JROTC myself and the military, and with a family dedicated to military service in the United States,” Sutton said, “I know how valuable a program it is and what it can bring to students in the future.”

He is hoping that by bringing the program to our campus it will help students who are looking to do something more, and it will fulfill that need by instilling pride and confidence in the students.

Sutton also hopes that it brings a calling to serve others, and it could be a good outlet for students.

“It is also a chance for students who have no direction,” he said, “to get structure, discipline and direction to maybe turn their lives around before it is too late.”

The JROTC students will be wearing their uniforms every Wednesday, which consists of a light blue button-down, collared shirt, dark blue dress pants, dress shoes, a belt and name tag. Sutton hopes to have JROTC cades raise the U.S. and California flags in the front of the school every Wednesday.

JROTC cadets will be reciting the pledge of allegiance at the Los Banos Unified School District Board meeting in October. Sutton also plans to have members of the program compete in the Air Soft Rifle competitions throughout the valley and state. He hopes for a winning program and has confidence that the PHS JROTC Program will achieve success.

“I also hope,” Sutton added, “that JROTC will become a program on campus that everybody is trying to get into. I also want JROTC to represent PHS at various dedication ceremonies and activities around Los Banos.”

Eseroma Kamil