PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — Richwoods High School now has an award-winning Marine Corps Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (MCJROTC) unit.
It was selected as the Region 1 winner for the 2021-2022 Marine Corps Reserve Association (MCRA) designation. This was earned through community engagement and scholastic achievements.
“To earn it, they have to be active all year long, we don’t take a break in the summer,” said retired First Sergeant Shawn Martin, one of the ROTC instructors. “They’re here Monday through Friday in the summer, with us, and they’re constantly engaged in the community.”
According to a press release, the Richwoods MCJROTC achieved:
- more than 2,500 community service hours
- 32 public affairs appearances
- 48 cadets recognized for advanced scholastic achievement, which represents more than a third of all RHS
- MCJROTC cadets
- earned $444,000 in college scholarships
- 80 cadets participated in sports, clubs and activities beyond MCJROTC
The program increased by 52 cadets in the past year, and went from 79 to 187 cadets in the past two years.
“This highlights that there are great leaders in the future in the children that we raise today. And when given the possibility, they can do anything,” Martin said.
One student ROTC Commander, Anna Hipple, said they did not let the pandemic slow them down.
“Even, like, during COVID, we had all that ‘you can’t go out, you can’t hold practices,’ we found a way to be able to hold practices and be able to find that way to better ourselves and keep going,” she said.
She said it was exciting to find out they were one of four MCJROTC programs to be recognized, and the first in the Midwest to win.
“It means that all the work that we did do was worth it,” she said. “And it proved that everything that we did is for a reason. There’s nothing that we do that isn’t for a reason.”