The cadets grow in Port St. Joe

Published: Thursday, February 7, 2013 at 10:47 AM.

Four years ago the NJROTC program at Port St. Joe Jr./Sr. High School was nearly a casualty of district budget woes.

Four years later the ranks are bulging.

The NJROTC program had its annual inspection last week as the cadets demonstrated their skills and military manners and put on display the rapid growth of the program over the past four years under Lt. Commander Marty Jarosz (Ret.).

“We are growing steadily,” Jarosz said. “In four years we have more than doubled our numbers and we have kids that want to do this but who can’t fit it into their class schedule.

“We can’t do the NJROTC program without a lot of support. Support from parents, from teachers, from other students. They accept NJROTC as part of the fabric of the high school and part of the fabric of the community. And that community is what this county stands for.”

The growth of the program was at full attention much of last Tuesday morning under the watchful eyes of inspector Commander Michael Egan from the Naval Salvage and Diving Station in Panama City Beach.

As the school district considered cutting the program four years ago, there were 21 cadets enrolled in the program, slightly under the 10 percent threshold required of the U.S. Navy in sponsoring the program.

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