Students March Toward Personal Growth in North Atlanta JROTC


Sara Beth CImowsky

Students in the JROTC program practice in uniform during their class.

In the near future, the entirety of the North Atlanta High School student body will be set free from the bubble that has been our adolescent years and pushed out into the outside world. Forced to make the change so abruptly can be a daunting transition to make. The real world is a scary place, filled with big choices to make. So, how do we prepare to venture out on our own into a place we know so little about?

Many students have found the answer through participation in the Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps program at North Atlanta. North Atlanta JROTC – with more than 250 participants – is one of the school’s largest organizations.

It’s not a program that pushes army enrollment or enlistment. Rather, it provides a safe environment for students to learn new things about the world, others, and most importantly, themselves. Throughout the course of the year, participants work to improve their character, leadership ability and discipline. “I love JROTC because it’s a great experience that offers a lot of opportunities,” said freshman Annabelle Sarkissian. “It helps me become a better citizen, and leader.”

JROTC is a rigorous path that includes physical activities designed to improve cadet strength. Every Friday cadets engage in physical training in the first-floor multi-purpose room. Training involves push-ups, standing push-ups, jumping jacks and other activities. “We’re a separate part of the school and we have our own space on the first floor. Even when we work hard, there’s so much bonding that comes from our shared experiences,” said junior Jacq Flash, a second-year cadet.

North Atlanta JROTC is under the faculty direction of Lt. Col. Lynette Minnick, Master Sgt. Bryan Jett and Master Sgt. Tonya Benton. This year’s battalion commander is senior Zach Flash.

For those wanting to serve in our nation’s armed forces, JROTC is a great step toward that goal. Within the program, matters are conducted as if members are in a real military corps. Cadets address each other within military rank using terms like private, sergeant and lieutenant. On many days, they are also fully decked out in their uniforms walking the halls.

Whether you are looking into a life fighting for your country, or simply want to better yourself as a person, JROTC might be the place for you. Ready for this kind action? Then march down to the first floor to get your journey started.