The core of Atascocita’s Marine Corps Junior ROTC program is centered around leadership. Led by Chief Warrant Officer 4 Lasyone, USMC (ret) and Master Gunnery Sergeant Daniel Fleming, USMC (ret) the program has many goals. “We’re trying to make these young men and women better citizens,” Chief Warrant Officer Lasyone said. “We’re helping them with time management, self-discipline, getting them ready for college, and helping with other options not military related.” People often mistake the ROTC program for a recruitment program. The reality is that program leads the students to explore all options. If they choose to go into the service, they are guided in the right direction with the proper contacts. However, the main focus is to help the kids find their passion, whatever it may be. “When you’re done with high school, what job do you imagine for yourself? If you want to be an engineer, we’ll help you be an engineer, whatever it is, we’ll help them,” Chief Warrant Officer Lasyone stated.
The kids are put into leadership positions to see what it feels like to be in a chain of command. They can also earn ranks just like in the military, which helps with the discipline and self-discipline. The students also put in almost 4,000 community service hours. “We’re basically out just about every Saturday. We’re all over the community,” Chief Warrant Officer Lasyone admitted. The program does volunteering at a number of places: fire departments, fall festivals, Blue Star Moms, which is a service that packs up care packages and sends them to deployed service members. To go along with this, they conduct a 9/11 ceremony with National Honor Society (NHS) in front of the high school. In December, the program participates in Wreaths Across America, which is an effort to get a wreath laid out at every burial site at the Houston National Cemetery for all of the fallen heroes honoring their service and sacrifice. “We stay pretty busy throughout the school year,” Chief Warrant Officer Lasyone said.
Around 50-60 cadets will help with recyclables in the Recycle Rodeo and spend 6-7 hours working and collecting recyclables with Waste Management that they turn back into money and put towards the community. It’s a program designed around cadets working hard to work as a team and accomplish the objectives on campus and realize what it means to serve others.
On October 25th, they had a Zombie Run in which they tried to get people to run their 5K obstacle course. They partnered with the class of 2015 for that event. In April they have an Eagle Dash, which is a blood drive/obstacle run.
As far as competitions go, most of them have drill and there is different version of it: regulation drill, armed/unarmed drill, and exposition that involves a routine with or without rifles; so there’s an arm portion, drill portion, and a color guard portion. In competition there is a physical fitness components and an academic component. There is also a hybrid version that involves skills-meets that incorporates the physical fitness side with obstacle courses and land navigation. The teams usually consist of the cadets that volunteer. The events are held anywhere from local schools in Kingwood, Tomball, and Spring to very distant schools in Waco and Louisiana. Even though it is only the 4th year of the JROTC program at Atascocita, they average 3 trophies a drill meet — a great accomplishment for a young program competing with long established programs. The cadets definitely put in the time practicing 2 hours a day, 4 days a week after school.
One thing that the program is proud of is that they have been designated as a Naval Honor School two years in a row. They were selected from 63 schools from their region that includes Louisiana, Arkansas, and Mississippi. They were in the top 10 from the schools for performing academically well and competing well. “We cater to every aspect of the program,” Chief Warrant Officer Lasyone stated.
On February 3, 2015 from 4:00-8:00PM all of the JROTC programs will participate in the 2nd annual Career and Technology expo at the Humble Civic Center.
Written by: Mark M. Johnson