A retired U.S. Air Force colonel is hopeful that a Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (JROTC) can take flight again at the Montezuma-Cortez High School.
Michael Pasquin floated the idea to Montezuma-Cortez Re-1 school board members earlier this month, stating he was a member of the Air Force JROTC program when he was a high school student in Cortez during the 1970s. In addition to learning about the principles of aircraft flight, rocketry and space, Pasquin said the JROTC program also taught him how to be an effective communicator and leader.
“After 29 years in the Air Force, I’m convinced that M-CHS’ Air Force Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps program prepared me for success in life like no other program,” Pasquin said.
After graduating from M-CHS in 1975, Pasquin received a four-year ROTC scholarship to attend Colorado State University before entering the Air Force. He returned to Cortez a few months ago.
“Now that I’m back in Cortez, I would love nothing better than to give back to the community by getting AFJROTC back at M-CHS,” said Pasquin.
Re-1 Superintendent Alex Carter indicated that supported Pasquin’s vision.
“ROTC is an incredible leadership and character-building tool for students,” said Carter.
Pasquin has launched discussions with Air Force officials, adding that Colorado currently has six unfilled JROTC program slots. To move forward, Pasquin said school officials would need to submit an official application.
A lengthy process, establishing a JROTC unit would require a site visit by Air Force representatives, approval from the Secretary of the Air Force and funding to hire instructors.
“The Air Force would split the cost with the school of paying for these instructors,” said Pasquin, adding that the 2017 school year would be the earliest that the unit could be activated.
According to Pasquin, a minimum of 60 students would need to express an interest in joining a JROTC program. Support from parents and the community at large would also be beneficial, he added.
“Let’s give AFJROTC a chance to develop citizens of character dedicated to serving their nation and community,” Pasquin said. “A program that will instill values of citizenship, service to the United States, personal responsibility and a sense of accomplishment.”
For more, contact Pasquin via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at (757) 327-1269.