Special programs and clubs, including a possible junior Reserve Officer Traning Corps (ROTC) program, were among items discussed at a Wednesday meeting of the Hillsboro City Schools Board of Education.
Board member Tom Milbery said he has been collecting information on the creation of a junior ROTC program for the high school and possibly the middle school.
In an interview with The Times-Gazette on Friday, Milbery said he had discussed the idea with Alberta Duncan, who often participates in activities with the Highland County Veterans Honor Guard, and he will provide the board with a more detailed report at its next meeting.
“Alberta Duncan… mentioned it to me and asked that I would look into it,” Milbery said, “I think it’s something our kids would be interested in, and it would represent our community well.”
Duncan told The Times-Gazette that she has contacted an officer with the Paint Valley Cadet Corps, a nearby JROTC program, to gather more information.
“I’ve been trying to get this done for a while,” Duncan said. “I think it would be great for Hillsboro to get into it… It teaches a lot of discipline and things like that – it could be for troubled kids, it could be used to get scholarships. There’s a lot of things that could come from the program.”
Duncan said funding will have to be secured to pay for a qualified instructor before the program begins, but she hopes it will get started before next school year begins.
Milbery said he hopes the middle school will be involved in the program if it comes to fruition.
“Being a middle school teacher all my career, I’m always willing to involve the younger kids, because if you get them at a younger age and start to train them in a particular skill, and generate enthusiasm in what they’re doing, that carries over into the high school years,” he said, although he added that he expects there will be discipline challenges with younger students.
“That would be kind of like herding cats,” he said. “But if we can implement this without too much of a problem, I think it might come to fruition… I think it would be great to have athletic games with our presentation of the colors by a junior ROTC, and I think it would teach the kids more things than I can enumerate.”
According to the U.S. Army Junior ROTC website, such programs exist to provide citizenship, character and leadership development for students.
Programs can include precision and exhibition military drill competitions, air rifle competitions, physical fitness competitions and other classes and challenges.
Also Wednesday, board member Bill Myers said he would like to see the district pursue other unique programs, recalling a visit from local teacher and award-winning archer Fawn Girard at an October board meeting.
As reported by The Times-Gazette, Girard, a primary school intervention specialist with the Hillsboro school system, recently placed 13th in the World 3D Archery Championship as a member of the USA team.
Myers and Milbery both said they would like to see the creation of an archery program for the district.
Myers also said the school’s robotics program, which is fairly new, has already met success. Thirty teams were expected to compete at a robotics competition at the high school on Saturday.
As reported online Thursday and in Friday’s print edition of The Times-Gazette, the board also voted down a request by Hillsboro Mayor Drew Hastings to allow a 20-year Downtown Redevelopment District in Hillsboro. Since it involves property taxes, school board approval was required for any DRD project of more than 10 years. Hastings said later he was withdrawing the DRD legislation for consideration by city council.
Reach David Wright at 937-402-2570, or on Twitter @DavidWrighter.