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Sandy Journal

From land to sea: Jordan High introduces naval cadet corps program

Mar 01, 2024 02:31PM ● By Julie Slama

Jordan High Principal Bruce Eschler and Canyons School District Superintendent Rick Robins are excited about the Naval National Defense Cadet Corps program that will be housed next year at the high school. (Julie Slama/City Journals)

Online Naval National Defense Cadet Corps’ applications are open for any incoming ninth- through 12th-grade student who wishes to participate in the forerunner to the Navy Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps.

The program is new at Jordan High. 

It’s the first Utah comprehensive high school naval cadet corps program in the south end of the Salt Lake Valley. It’s also the first training program in Canyons School District.

“We believe it will be an asset not only to the school, but for all high school students who want to participate in the surrounding areas,” Jordan High Principal Bruce Eschler said. “The program’s mission goals are aligned with ours. It has a strong STEM focus and offers hands-on technical training while also building students’ physical fitness and aptitude for leadership. The cadet corps combines academic excellence with military discipline to prepare students for leadership roles in the military or in civilian careers by instilling values such as teamwork and responsibility.”

While housed at Jordan High, all high school students in Canyons’ high schools will be able to enroll in the program while remaining at their home schools. Students from outside Canyons can request to permit into Jordan High to participate.

Jordan was awarded the unit by the Navy after an evaluation process. Eventually, Canyons District wants to transition to the Navy Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps.

Eschler said up to 100 students can enroll in the first year. The Cadet Corps is a four-year program, but students don’t have to participate all four years. 

Those who complete three years of the program can enlist in the armed forces at a higher pay grade, he added.

The program, as the Navy Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps, follow the same curriculum, coursework, and post-high school opportunities, Eschler said. 

While the cadet corps’ training is a military education program, the leadership skills are transferrable; students will be introduced to the meaning of citizenship and build confidence, discipline, and a capacity for hard work, said Canyons Superintendent Rick Robins.

“These are the personal character traits that are in such high demand by colleges and employers,” he said.

Jordan High was established in 1907 and serves as one of the oldest high schools in the state. Currently, about 2,000 students continue honoring many of the school’s traditions, Robins said.

“I’m grateful for that Dr. Eschler saw in the partnership with the US Navy as a chance to reinforce the Beetdiggers’ best traditions, and the best of what our United States military has to offer. Jordan’s Navy Cadet Corps program is the perfect marriage of those ideals of service and preparing our students to succeed in whatever career path they may choose,” he said.

Canyons Board vice president Mont Millerberg backs the cadet corps.

“As someone with military background, I support the program,” he said. “It will give our students a chance to better understand citizenship and government as well as help them personally in their development.”

Canyons Board of Education member Andrew Edlt said his teenage years were influenced in a program that led him to serve in the Air National Guard. 

“Looking back on my journey, my teenage years were profoundly influenced while in a similar program,” he said. “This wasn’t just about mastering skills or adhering to a regimen. It was a place of transformation. Here I forged lasting relationships connected with mentors and was introduced to disciplines that instill competence, resilience and leadership. The challenges faced and the triumph celebrated in the program were instrumental in further developing my passion for lifelong learning and growth. Beyond the tangible, being part of the cadet program instilled in me values that have been instrumental in every phase of my life. It fostered a deep sense of patriotism, an unwavering commitment to community service, a focus on physical well-being and an introduction to the expansive world of aerospace.”

Eschler is excited about this program to begin next year.

“We believe it will foster a sense of camaraderie to empower students to excel and become responsible citizens,” he said. “These are students who will make a positive impact to our community and our nation.” λ