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For More Information Contact the Public Information Office:
Richard Vespucci
Kathryn Forsyth, Director

For Release: February 2, 2005

State Board Honors Junior ROTC Programs
from Two Somerset County High Schools

The State Board of Education today honored two high school-level ROTC training programs designed to foster citizenship, leadership, and service to the community. The junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (JROTC) programs at Franklin High School and North Plainfield High School (Somerset County) were selected as part of the state board’s practice of singling out exceptional students or school programs each month during the school year.

Representatives of each high school, including three JROTC members from each school, received certificates of merit at today’s regular monthly meeting of the State Board of Education. The students representatives are:

From Franklin High School: Natasha Lee, Margaret Nelson and Paul Venus; and

From North Plainfield High School: Jacqueline Karen Cabrel, Erick Grant and Jaime Mendez.

"Young people learn how to be strong leaders and better citizens through ROTC programs," said Acting Gov. Richard J. Codey. "Students who participate in these programs gain valuable life experiences."

"ROTC programs can play in an important role for many students, especially for those who are seeking a firm direction in their lives," said State Board of Education President Arnold G. Hyndman. "On behalf of the entire board, I congratulate the junior ROTC staff at Franklin and North Plainfield high schools for turning out impressive young adults such as the students we have met today."

"One of our goals at the state level is to ensure that our diverse students in New Jersey have a variety of opportunities to experience success," said Commissioner of Education William L. Librera. "Programs such as Junior ROTC represent another effective way our schools can enlist the help of partner organizations to motivate our high-school age students to become bright and productive adults."

The students were accompanied by their instructors: Commander Peg D’Haene, Senior Naval Science Instructor at North Plainfield High School; and Sgt. John Mantalvo and Major Jacqueline Vazquez from Franklin High School.

Although ROTC and junior ROTC participants wear uniforms and their programs are sponsored by the federal Department of the Army and other armed forces, Junior ROTC is not a military recruitment program. It is intended to prepare high school students for responsible leadership roles while making them aware of their rights, responsibilities and privileges as American citizens.

Through JROTC programs, students learn to:

  • Appreciate the ethical values and principles that underlie good citizenship;
  • Develop leadership potential, while living and working cooperatively with others;
  • Think logically and communicate effectively with others;
  • Appreciate the importance of physical fitness in maintaining good health
  • Understand the importance of high school graduation for a successful future, and learn about college and other advanced education and employment opportunities;
  • Develop mental management abilities;
  • Learn about military history as it relates to America’s culture, and understand the history, purpose, and structure of the military services; and
  • Develop the skills necessary to work effectively as a member of a team.

Each month during the school year, the State Board recognizes a student or group of students for their accomplishments in community service, the arts, academics, personal achievement and sports. For more information, please contact the Department of Education’s Public Information Office at 609-292-1126.