by Stephanie Barnett
Just like many other High Schools, Reedley High has many amazing clubs and organizations. One specific organization is Reedley NJROTC, or Naval Junior Reserves Officer Training Command, but most students and teachers on campus know it as NJ.
NJ is a Navy unit that focuses on teaching students the ins and outs of the Navy and many other skills students will find useful in the future. On campus administrators, teachers and other students, everyone knows the NJ kids. Last year I joined NJ’s second semester after some urging from one of my friends who was in it, and was slightly nervous about how I’d fit it. Going into a class second semester is always hard. Right away I found out that this wasn’t like any other class, it was a club and a family. Everyone knows everyone and the upperclassmen take the underclassmen under their wing, and help then in any way needed. After just a few days I loved NJ and knew I wanted to continue taking it in my senior year.
NJ isn’t just a class, it is an elective, but it does count as a P.E credit. Two to three times a week we have PT (Physical Training) like every other student at Reedley. Some even say that NJPT can be more intense than regular P.E. Though it may be hard at times, normally everyone is laughing and joking around, before, during, and after any event. Anahi Serrano, a Sophomore in NJ, said that she likes NJ because “it shows us leadership skills and we learn things that we cannot learn in other classes.”
Every year we participate in events from Flag Raising to Presenting the Colors, or Flags, at every football game, and many other events throughout the year. Close to the end of the school year we have our AMI (Annual Military Inspection) where each cadet and the staff are inspected and graded on how well we did that year. Last year we received the highest honor of Distinguished Unit and have yet to receive word of what we received this year.
This year our staff consists of many wonderful and dedicated students who keep the Unit up and running along with our instructor, Master Chief Okray. Our CO (Commanding Officer) is Brandi Fern, and she is the student who is in charge of the Unit. Our XO, the second in command, is Priscilla Romero. Brandi said, “NJ has been the most amazing program I’ve been involved in. The people I’ve met are extraordinary. We are so much like a family and I’ll always remember the amazing memories. Master Chief has been the most amazing instructor and I’ll be sure to pass on the wisdom he has taught me to everyone else!”
I asked Priscilla Romero why NJ was a good experience and she said, “NJ was a good experience because I learned leadership skills, responsibility and discipline. I also like NJ because it’s like one big family: everyone is there for each other.”
NJ is unlike any other class I’ve ever encountered. The kids, the adults, and every person involved in the Unit have a dedication and aptitude unlike any other. I’ve suggested taking NJ to many underclassmen and the ones in NJ I’ve talked to plan on taking it next year. Our popularity has risen so much that for the 2011-2012 year there are over 150 students enrolled! Hopefully our numbers will continue to grow, but for the moment NJ is becoming a much more popular class and the reasons why are apparent in everything that we do!