Lejeune High School’s Marine Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (JROTC) is a key part of the school community. In fact, a quarter of LHS students are involved with the program. Last year, the program booked more than 10,000 hours of community service. Additionally, 35 cadets have won Presidential Volunteer Service Awards this year alone.
One could go so far as to say that, as far as school organizations go, the JROTC is as much a staple of the school as it is the community.
It should come as no surprise then that the JROTC team and its boosters are looking to make community a central theme of an upcoming event.
On April 6, the program will be hosting a flea market and bake sale put on by the LHS JROTC booster program, officially titled “Friends of the JROTC.” The event will run from 8 a.m. to noon at Lejeune High School.
“It’s one of the first we will have of many,” said LHS sophomore and JROTC officer Karl Benson. “The program that backs us, Friends of the JROTC, is vital and has proven itself essential. … It’s going to be fun for everyone — not just us but vendors and the community.”
The event will feature a garage sale style layout with outside and inside spaces available. For $10, individuals can rent a plot to unload their lightly used goods to people who might have use for them.
“We were trying to come up with something that would embrace the whole community,” said Jeanette Benson, a Friends of the JROTC committee member. “A yard sale made the most sense. In this area, people are always coming and going with PCS (Permanent Change of Station), and we’re right in the thick of PCS season. Kids outgrow things too, or sometimes you just don’t need so much stuff anymore. We also have a lot of talented bakers, so that seemed like a good way to get people involved.”
The event will also feature vendors purveying crafts, food and various home based businesses.
“We have a lot of parents who do the sales for things like Pampered Chef. … They’ll be there to balance things out,” Benson said.
Brian Griffing, a retired Marine Corps major and currently an instructor for the JROTC course, sees the event as a testament to what the program stands for.
“We try to be a very active part of the community,” Griffing said. “We sell concessions at sporting events and provide color guards for various ceremonies and events.”
As far as the event’s execution and planning go, Griffing knows who’s helping seal the deal.
“That’s the parents,” Griffing said.
Participants in the program have the chance to participate in such things as the Cadet Leadership Course at Lejeune, the National Physical Training Competition in Daytona Beach, Florida, Cybercamp at Randolph-Macon Academy in Virginia and the annual Raider Camp in Quantico, Virginia.
Elizabeth Schwend, a sophomore at LHS and officer with the JROTC program, sees the community connection as an innate duty on behalf of the cadets.
“Since JROTC is such a big thing at this school, it’s important that we’re out there as part of it (the community),” Schwend said.
Her brother Anthony, a first-year cadet at the Citadel in Charleston, South Carolina, and LHS graduate, knows firsthand that the JROTC program can make an impact.
“This program made me a better person and I wouldn’t be where I am now without it,” Anthony Schwend said. “I definitely wouldn’t be at the Citadel.”
Payment for spaces must be made by March 30.
Checks should be made out to JROTC and sent to Master Gunnery Sgt. Gardiner at 835 Stone St. Camp Lejeune, NC 28547 or taken to the LHS main office.
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