Viking alumni who graduated prior to 1996 might be surprised to come to the school on a Friday and find nearly 200 current Vikings wearing Army Green to classes. These students are all members of the Viking Battalion, Oregon’s largest-and best-Junior ROTC organization. Unlike college ROTC, whose purpose is to develop commissioned officer leaders for America’s military services, JROTC’s mission is to develop good citizenship, promote success in high school and beyond, and develop leadership skills that will help our students succeed no matter what they do after graduation.
JROTC Color Guard to attend Nationals next month
JROTC at North is a four-year program. It’s a partnership between the Army and the school; the two instructors are retired career Soldiers. Students take the class as an elective and earn graduation credit. The curriculum is diverse-including study skills, oral and written communication, first aid, US government, the role of the Armed Forces in our democracy, leadership, physical fitness, drill and ceremony, and leadership.
The core of the curriculum is leadership development, and cadets learn how to lead through hands-on activities. The cadets are organized into a military-style organization, the Viking Battalion, led by the third and fourth year cadets. These young leaders plan, organize, and supervise the many activities cadets can participate in outside the classroom.
Each year, the cadets plan a white water rafting trip in the fall. The also plan a formal military ball in the spring, and an end-of-year awards ceremony. More than fifty cadets participate in the annual JROTC Cadet Leadership Challenge (JCLC) at Camp Rilea in the spring. Cadets also perform over 2000 hours of community service every year.
North Salem JROTC Military Ball, 2011
Eighty of our cadets are involved in our JROTC teams-Color Guards, Drill Teams, Air Rifle Teams, Physical Fitness teams, and Academic Teams. These teams compete against other JROTC units from around the Pacific Northwest. North Salem’s teams are consistently among the best in our Region. In 2012, three Viking shooters competed at the Army JROTC National Championships in February. One of our color guards qualified to compete at the National high School Drill Team Championships in May. Viking JROTC color guards have numerous times presented the colors at Portland Trailblazer basketball games, as well as at community events such as the Awesome 3000 kids run.
JROTC is open to any student in any class. Emma Espino, this year’s Viking Battalion Commander, puts it best: “JROTC is just about the best thing going at North Salem!”
Lt. Col. Dwight Morse (Ret.), JROTC teacher