PRCMS introduces cadet program

Published 7:00 am Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Pearl River Central Middle School recently introduced a Junior Cadet Corps program as an elective students can choose over the traditional physical education class.

PRCMS JCC Instructor Master Sergeant Gabe Peterson said the school was among only three others in the state to include the leadership-based course in the curriculum.

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Peterson said course content is linked to National Health Education standards and will provide students with the opportunity to learn in an environment that encourages them to build on their character, leadership, discipline and professionalism.

The program focuses on life skills, a course that meets district and state standards regarding nutrition, first aid and teaching the students about the importance of avoiding drugs.

The 90-minute class starts with the students watching CNN10, a 10 minute news segment geared toward students in a format they can understand so they can learn what is happening around the world.

The news segment is followed by a 30 minute classroom discussion on subjects outlined in the textbook Introduction to the US Navy. After spending the first half of the lecture in class, students head outdoors for a marching drill, physical training, crossfit, football and soccer.

Peterson, who served in the U.S. Air Force for 21 years before retiring in 2016, believes the course is an ideal way to teach the importance of teamwork and self-control among students. He said the program will be helpful to students who choose a number of paths in their adult lives, not just those interested in military service in the future. 

“A good leader is someone that inspires people to be a part of a team,” Peterson said.

The JCC program started in September with 45 students but has grown to 120 enrolled students.

While the school has been able to cover the costs of uniforms for  students enrolled in the course, future fundraisers are being planned to raise funds for additional program supplies.