BOE must decide GHS program#039;s fate

Published 12:00 am Saturday, January 31, 2004

"Leadership Excellence."

This is the motto of the ROTC program. That is exactly what the ROTC program at Greenville High School strives to teach.

Unfortunately, for the past year the program has been threatened due to a lack of funding.

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Though it appears as if the funding will be available this year the program still must come before a vote in order to continue.

The Butler County Board of Education plans to discuss the issue at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 12.

One week later, the Board will formally meet and decide the fate of the ROTC program.

Dr. Mike Reed, Butler County School Superintendent told the Board at its January meeting, a decision had to be made about the program.

"We must notify the Army of our intentions," he said.

So what could happen if the funding was not there?

What if the vote does not come out in favor of maintaining the program?

Many people consider the strains that funding an ROTC program, but they do not see the big picture.

Through the termination of the ROTC program at Greenville High School many young lives may be affected.

Lt. Col. Eustice Shiver, who directs the project along with Sgt. Maj. James R. Seale, felt that the termination of the program would have a tragic effect.

"There would be many opportunities lost if the program were gone," said Shiver.

"It helps a lot of kids to get into college as well as teaches values."

The ROTC program also teaches students about teamwork.

"I have learned a lot about how to get along with other people," said S-S Captain Martina Scott. "It has definitely taught me more people skills."

Along with the social skills that are gained students study in many areas of academics.

Through the ROTC program students study history, marketing and technology.

The program also helps with children who may need direction in their lives.

"We get a few at-risk kids as well," said Shiver.

"The program teaches them discipline and in many cases we see their grades go up.

They have discipline and self-confidence."

For those students who do not feel that they are quite ready for college the ROTC program also prevents the option of a military career.

"I have lots of students who join different branches of the military after high school," said Shiver.

"Right now our battalion commander has decided that she will join the navy.

She knows that she wants to go to college but she needs time to decide what she wants to do.

Now she has that chance."

Thomas Free is another student who has found his way through the ROTC program.

"ROTC helped me decide that I want to be a Marine," said Free.

"I have learned a lot about teamwork and life and now know what I want to do."

ROTC also gives students options to participate in a different kind of program at their school. Because not every student wants to play football, or basketball ROTC is a popular choice for many who seek to learn values and teamwork.

The loss of such a program would have a deep effect on many students.

"I would be very upset if the program were gone," said Valeria Burkette.

"The program has helped me in many ways."