JROTC Frequently Asked Questions

Marion Harding High School is home of Marion County’s only JROTC program. The program teaches leadership, responsibility and other life skills as well as serves as a pathway for the military for students interested in joining the armed services.

Here are frequently asked questions about JROTC.

Question: What is JROTC?

Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps is an elective class offered for up to four years in high school. It provides academic credit and teaches citizenship, leadership, teamwork and personal responsibility. Students learn about civics, geography, global awareness, health and wellness, language arts, life skills and U.S. history.

Harding JROTC cadets at graduationQuestion: Do students in JROTC have to join the military?

No, they do not have to join the military. Students who decide to join the military will join at a higher rank. They also can earn a higher rank in senior ROTC in college. However, there is no obligation to join the military.

Question: Does JROTC help students go to college?

Participating in JROTC teaches students about college and other educational and employment opportunities. JROTC training improves students’ ability to study, take tests, set goals and focus. It stresses leadership, teamwork and effective communication, all skills desired in college students and workers. Students may also be eligible for ROTC scholarships for college.

Question: Do JROTC cadets have to wear uniforms?

Students are asked to wear their uniforms once a week or if they are going to take part in a special event or ceremony. The rest of the week they wear normal clothing.

Question: Are there special fees for participating in JROTC?

Students in JROTC receive uniforms, supplies, books and other equipment free of charge. There is a few if a student’s uniform is lost, damaged or stolen.

Question: Who teaches JROTC?

JROTC programs are often taught by retired Army personnel who have experience working with young people. The Army JROTC program certifies JROTC instructors but the school district hires them.

Harding’s JROTC program is taught by Lt. Col. John Espinosa, a retired Army officer who served in Germany and Italy, took part in peacekeeping missions in Bosnia and Kosovo, and combat missions in Iraq.

Harding JROTC cadets helping on Memorial Day

Question: How does JROTC prepare students for success after graduation?

JROTC teaches students to think logically and communicate effectively. It helps students understand the importance of graduating high school and introduces them to other educational and employment opportunities.

Question: How does JROTC prepare students for success in life?

The Army Reserve Officers Training Corps program prepares students for leadership roles while making them aware of their rights, responsibilities and privileges as Americans. Students learn about good citizenship and are encouraged to volunteer in their communities. They develop strong ethical values and principles associated with good citizenship.