AFJROTC Returns to AHS



John Ditterline, Reporter

The Air Force Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (AFJROTC) that once brought fellowship and excitement to thousands of American classrooms was disbanded in Alton High School by the United States Airforce on April 1st, 2022. After the thoughts and feelings of angry students and guardians could no longer be ignored, Alton High School made the executive decision to reinstate the curriculum and preserve the tradition and longevity of the well-loved AFJROTC. The program was given a second chance, and is being brought back to life.  

The news about the program being canceled was broken to the participants (known as cadets within the program) the same day it was disbanded. Many were sad. Many were devastated, and some even cried. Lieutenant Colonel Ayres, the former AFJROTC instructor, after consoling the participating students, began to dispose of well-loved materials, uniforms, and equipment. 

During an interview, Cadet Zach Kallal, a fellow student and participant said, “I was disappointed and almost devastated…[I] saw many fellow cadets even cry because this was a great opportunity.”  The program was said to be shut down due to a lack of qualified instructors. Many former, current, and future cadets were happy, even ecstatic, when they heard that the program was coming back in mid-July. “I was extremely happy and filled with joy,” Cadet Kallal shared later in the interview. 

The AFJROTC program, often referred to as ROTC by those involved and by the surrounding community, has a new found focus on the priority of rebuilding, and more importantly, maintaining its structure and sense of duty towards participants.  With its reinstatement, the program will target order, discipline and proper care in terms of resources and materials. 

A lack of up keep and general order is not the only hurdle the new and improved ROTC program has to jump to attain success in the following school years ahead. Senior Master Sergeant Rosenbeck, the new instructor for ROTC, spoke on the subject: “I have two obstacles right now, one is getting people to come back,” then continued, “…The second is at the end of the year last year, many things were being disbanded.”  

 Today, after complete reformation, the program is alive and well.  Thanks to the efforts of Senior Master Sergeant Rosenbeck, Master Sergeant Soloemen, many former and current cadets, and people who have a passion for the program, the beloved AFJROTC will continue to brighten the hallways of Alton High.