Marine Corps JROTC Program Opens with Resounding Support at Goochland High School

Semper Fidelis is Latin for “always faithful” or “always loyal.” It is also the motto of the United States Marine Corps, signifying loyalty and dedication to the mission, to the Corps, and to the United States of America.

The opening of the 2014-15 school year marked the opening of Goochland High School’s Marine Corps Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (MCJROTC) program. The application and approval for this program has been more than a year in the making and has included a visit from the colonel in charge of the East Coast MCJROTC programs, Colonel James Lenard, as well as final approval from Secretary of the Navy, Ray Mabus.

We are pleased to welcome Major Michael Petruzziello and Staff Sergeant Dan Strong to Goochland High School and to the GCPS team. We are proud to have these fine Marines lead our program and join the Goochland community.

(left to right) Major Michael Petruzziello and Staff Sergeant Daniel Strong

The instructional program introduces students to the MCJROTC curriculum, which includes leadership, teamwork, discipline, history, communication techniques, study habits, management skills, first aid, drug abuse prevention, map reading, physical fitness, workplace readiness skills, military customs and courtesies, proper uniform wear, and U.S. citizenry rights and responsibilities.

Our MCJROTC program is open to all students in grades 9-12 and begins this year as a one-year course that will grow over the next four years into a four-year comprehensive sequence. MCJROTC is an annual elective course and there is no commitment or obligation for a cadet to join the military upon graduation.

A heartfelt thank you to our School Board and our Board of Supervisors for making the Marine Corps Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps program a reality for our students and our community.

As for the level of interest from our students . . .

In order for the program to sustain and be considered successful, the expectation from the Marine Corps is that we have approximately 80 students enrolled by the program’s third year (2016-17). The current enrollment for the 2014-15 school year is 115.

During the opening week of school, SSgt Strong summarized one of the program’s foundational beliefs when he told his students, “To lead your peers will be the most challenging thing you will ever do. Using the MCJROTC model, you will have the opportunity to master the art to motivate and inspire others to accomplish things they never thought they could do.”

On his transition to Goochland, Major Petruzziello commented, “The community and school leadership, as well as the faculty, staff and students at Goochland High School, have all been extremely supportive and welcoming to SSgt Strong and I. We couldn’t be happier to be here.”

GCPS will hold a dedication ceremony for the MCJROTC program on Wednesday, October 1 at 2:00PM in the GHS stadium. Weather permitting, this event will be open to the public.

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