JROTC returns to Tupelo High School!


Emmy Dean

The flag team prepares to raise the national and state flags to half mast at the 9-11 ceremony.

Cadet Zharia Roberts and cader Joshua Clay standing in front of the J building.

On September 9th, JROTC conducted a ceremony in honor of the anniversary of 9/11. In remembrance of those who were lost 21 years ago, they honored 9/11. This was more than a ceremony for many of the JROTC students. 

 “My grandma was on the twin tower the day of 9/11, lucky she could get out just in time. I felt good to be part of [the ceremony] and made me feel like I was doing something positive,” junior Cadet Zharia Roberts said.

During the ceremony, JROTC students assembled the Battalion by the front flag pole and held a moment of silence for the 9/11 victims and all service members. The ceremony ended with THS JROTC reciting the Pledge of Allegiance. 

THS brought back Junior ROTC this new school year after it was disbanded in the late 90s. After so many years, students interested in enlisting in the military after high school finally have the opportunity to experience what life may be able to get a head start! 

Colonel Johnson instructs a cadet.

“Our goal at Tupelo High School is to help build the character of a young person. We want to make them better citizens in the local community and help improve their grades. And for them to care that beyond high school and with five goals from a characteristic standpoint of responsibility, accountability, teamwork, leadership, and discipline,” said Colonel Johnson JROTC Director of instruction. 

JROTC is the perfect program to help students who don’t know what they want to pursue after high school, even if the military is not on their radar. 

In JROTC, students talk about leadership skills, and how young citizens should present themselves in the world. Every morning in JROTC, the students say the pledge of allegiance and cadet creed. Every Wednesday, students wear physical training uniforms and exercise and march. Occasionally, students have after-school practice for the football games.

JROTC makes their round around the field before game starts (Hailee Spradling)

On Fridays when students have football home games, students march around the track and the drill team to Present the Colors during the national anthem before the game. 

Not only does JROTC discipline students to be better adults, but JROTC can also help students in college as students choose their major. For students away at college for the first time, being on their own takes a lot of responsibility, accountability, and even discipline. JROTC gives students a little bit of relief if students learn these skills before heading to college.

“One of the beauties of ROTC. It gives you different pathways. It teaches you five characteristics: responsibility, accountability, leadership, teamwork, and discipline. It helps the student as they move past high school to discipline themselves and study community service while they’re going to college. It helps them to prioritize their needs,” Johnson said. 

Colonel Johnson and Sergeant Hilbert inspect the cadet’s uniforms.

“JROTC has given me the opportunity to meet and build relationships with many people. It also has helped me realize what I want to do in life which is going to the air force, “ sophomore Cadet Amari Tucker said.