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The Suburbanite
  • ROTC thrives, grows with district support

  • The Green High Air Force Junior ROTC detachment is looking forward to a bright future.
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  • The Green High Air Force Junior ROTC detachment is looking forward to a bright future.
    Several things have occurred that give the unit reason to be excited.
    Last month, the students helped to organize a Veteran's Day assembly and volunteered to bus tables and help seat older veterans during the Veterans Day meal at Golden Corral. Throughout this year, they will visit military bases, engage in drill team competition and participate community service
    "The year has been excellent so far," Unit Commander Capt. David Welhouse said. "We have a good group of cadets who are motivated this year."
    More than that, the Green ROTC unit continues to see growth both in numbers and support. This year, the unit has 106 students enrolled in the program which serves grades nine through 12.
    "Our numbers are very good," Welhouse said. "We have gotten a second classroom and are working on additional storage … and we are getting excellent support from the new administration under the leadership of (Superintendent) Jeff Miller that is greatly appreciated."
    Miller has long been a supporter of the unit. As the middle school prinicpal he saw borderline students thrive in the ROTC program at the high school level.
    "The Green High School ROTC program offers our students a platform to grow in their communication skills, patriotism, and physical fitness," Miller said. "Captain Welhouse and Chief (William) Karasko's leadership is instrumental to the success of the program. The discipline and team-building emphasis of the ROTC program will serve great dividends to our young people."
    According to Karasko, Green High School Principal Cindy Brown has also been a strong supporter of the program, which has helped it to thrive this year.
    "She has been involved with helping the unit grow this year and iron out problems," Karasko said. "We are indeed fortunate that, for the first time, all of the components are now in place so that the program can take off and be self-sustaining. These components include academics, drill, uniform, physical training, and community service."
    POSITIVE IMPACT
    The ROTC unit is funded almost entirely by the Air Force which covers the costs of books, computers, and uniforms. Green pays half of each instructors salary.
    Various fundraisers are organized by the students to help support the cost of special programming and field trips. These funds also support overnight trips to Air Force facilities, leadership camps, social functions for the cadets and the annual awards ceremony and dance.
    While the program is run by the Air Force and has a military component the curriculum is varied. It is designed to help students with real life skills such as balancing a checkbook, filling out job and college applications and decision-making.
    Some students do opt to join the military after graduation but recruitment is not the goal of the unit. Several Green graduates have even received appointments to the Air Force Academy and gone on to receive commissions in the Air Force.
    Page 2 of 2 - "The program is an important part of the school," Brown said. "It provides the students with structure and stability. The students are offered leadership opportunities. Captain Welhouse and Chief Karasko are two of the most dedicated educators I have ever met. Their hearts are in their program and with their students."
    That dedication is evident to the ROTC students, who also pour their hearts into the program. They have felt the positive impact of the structure and support provided by the ROTC leaders.
    "It helped to straighten me out and kept me out of trouble," senior Jon Sayers said. "It gave me something constructive to do with my time and helped me with my aspirations of joining the military."
    Others such Gabrielle Proper have discovered in themselves leadership abilities and strengths they never knew were there
    "The ROTC has helped me grow as a person," Proper said. "I am not the same person I was three years ago. The Chief and the Captain have greatly impacted my ethical and professional standards. I have been forever changed by them."
    "ROTC has made me become more responsible, " senior Kayla Bean added. "It has made me more opened-minded to different ideas."
    For more information about the Green ROTC call the high school at 330-896-7575 or contact the instructors at welhousedavid@greenlocalschools.org or karaskowilliam@greenlocalschools.org .