1SG (First Sergeant) Steven Walker has worked for Tahlequah Public Schools for 19-years as an Army Instructor in the JROTC program. Prior to that he retired from the U.S. Army with just over 20 years of service.
The JROTC program at Tahlequah High School started in 2003 and the chapter now averages 110 to 120 cadets per year. The program is active in learning various military applications as well as being involved in the community.
“We compete in several events each year such as Marksmanship with Crosman Air Rifles. These are nice rifles the Army has purchased for about $800.00 per rifle,” Walker said. “We shoot against the Tulsa Schools Army JROTC, Broken Arrow Air Force JROTC, Bixby and Sapulpa Marine Corp JROTC. We also have Archery, Regulation Drill with and without weapons, Color Guard and physical fitness Challenge.
“We take the cadets to Camp Gruber or Fort Sill for a weeklong Junior Cadet Leadership Camp (JCLC) each summer. Each JROTC School is allowed 10 cadets to take to JCLC. The cadets will participate in Rappelling off a 45-foot tower, obstacle course, map reading course and water safety course. Then of course, we teach them First Aid, how to wear and maintain the uniform we issue to the cadets, Customs and Courtesies, Social Etiquette and Manners, Personal Growth, Team building and Drill and Anger management.
“These are just a few things we teach, many of the things JROTC instructors teach aren’t always in a book.”
Some of the JROTC cadets join the active duty military or find a home with the Oklahoma Army National Guard.
“Our program is not designed to get students in the military, the Mission of JROTC “To motivate Young People to Be Better Citizens” however an average of two to three per year will join the military and a few will join the Senior ROTC as well. I normally average about 20 seniors per year that will be in JROTC for four years of high school,” said 1SG Walker.
Before entering the JROTC program, students should know the program is designed to strengthen you as a person and put you on a course for success in life.
“This of course is an awesome program, every student in high school should belong to a club or organization. I want all the students to know this is a safe zone. I do not tolerate any bullying at all, we try to create a JROTC family atmosphere. If you need some help with English or Math, we will find someone to help you in this program. We have a lot of bright students. Many students have issues with anxiety. We work with cadets by putting them in leadership positions. This isn’t going to solve your anxiety issue, but it will help you to function in society a little better,” said 1SG Walker.