Science Hill High School JROTC raising funds for program

David Floyd • Jun 23, 2019 at 8:12 PM

Jacob Rogers, a rising high school senior, missed his opportunity freshman year to pick his first semester classes at Science Hill High School.

The school placed him in the JROTC program, which ended up being a good fit.

“I love the class, so I stayed with it,” he said.

Rogers has been part of JROTC for six semesters and now serves in a leadership position, tracking community service hours for the program’s cadets. He was one of several students and parents who participated in the program’s annual yard sale on Saturday. The event, held at Science Hill, helps raise money for the program.

LaShana Lyons is the president of the program’s support association, which provides financial assistance for the organization. Lyons has been part of the association for three years, and on average, said the event brings in about $2,000 a year. The merchandise for the yard sale typically comes from the families of cadets who are in the program.

“One of the big things I love about the program is how the cadets ... stand up for each other,” Lyons said. “They really are like a family.”

On Saturday, visitors were rifling through clothes, books, board games and electronics. The proceeds from the fundraiser help the program pay for equipment, like replica rifles for the drill team and flags for the color guard, and the travel costs associated with team trips. The program has a marksmanship team, drill team and recently added a robotics team.

Franklin Hyder, who graduated from Science Hill in May, served last year as the program’s battalion commander, which is the highest ranking cadet in the program.

Fundamentally, the purpose of JROTC, he said, is to encourage young people to be better citizens. Out of a 40-person graduating class, he said maybe five or six join the military.

When he signed up for the JROTC program, Hyder originally believed it would set a foundation for a career in the military. Hyder has instead decided that he will study construction science at East Tennessee State University, but he said JROTC has still been helpful.

“Now, I have the experience in leadership (and) organization styles,” he said. “I understand empathy and how to get a group of people to work together toward a common goal, which is really useful in most every workforce.”

Rising sophomore Piper Paul also joined the JROTC program because she was interested in exploring the military as a career option.

“I know that I could help my country and make sure it’s protected,” she said. “And that’s something I’ve always wanted to do is help protect the public.”

She recommends that other rising freshman consider JROTC and anticipates that her brother, who will be a freshman in two years, will be joining the program when he arrives at Science Hill.

Alissa Sheffield, a rising senior who is also Lyons’ daughter, said her parents placed her in the program, but she noted that it’s been helpful. She will be enlisting Tuesday in the Navy, specializing in nuclear engineering.

Sheffield, who now serves as program’s public affairs officer, said JROTC has also helped her develop social skills that will be valuable when she enters the workforce.

“I used to be the most introverted person ever, but now I’m public affairs, so my job is to talk to people,” she said.

You can donate to the program online at squareup.com/store/SHHSJROTCSA.

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