About 30 North Forsyth High School students recently returned from Fort Knox.
The students, all in the school’s Junior ROTC program, spent a week at the Kentucky base in a cadet leadership camp with about 170 students from Georgia.
“It stresses leadership and teamwork,” said Maj. Charles Kelly, North’s ROTC instructor. “They were working with Army officers.”
The participants were divided into five platoons, where they got to work with students from other areas of the state.
Just like regular training, Kelly said his students had long days.
“They’d get up in the morning, have breakfast in the military mess halls,” he said. “Then they’d do some sort of physical activity, whether it was repelling or working on ropes bridge or confidence courses.”
Then the students would have lunch, and do more physical training.
The students attended the camp a week before college ROTC cadets, Kelly said.
Many of the students got to do the same activities as the college cadets. They spent a lot of time in water activities, he said.
Carla Grove said the camp taught her children, Christopher and Stephanie, leadership skills and tested their physical endurance.
She also spoke highly of the ROTC program at North, which she said has taught her children “honor, responsibility and accountability.”
“They have both learned valuable life skills they will use for the rest of their lives,” she said. “Each child learns to value their strength and conquer their weaknesses.
“The kids learn the importance of helping each other and the confidence to achieve the goals they set forward for themselves.”
About 25 percent of the students in the school’s ROTC program go on to serve in the military, Kelly said.
“That means 75 percent don’t,” he said. “A high school ROTC is not designed to be a recruiting tool… it’s helping kids go through school and become better citizens.
“They learn time management, they learn the importance of meeting deadlines, they learn the importance of paying attention to small details.”