Cover image is of Mike Gard, naval officer
By Bandera Bulletin staff, September 23, 2020
The first Bandera High School students were accepted into the Navy National Defense Cadet Corps, or NNDCC, program in August, a news release about the program said.
The NNDCC program provides schools that do not currently qualify for a Navy Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps unit an opportunity to provide students with a similar program that teaches them about the value of citizenship, service to the United States and personal responsibility and gives them a sense of accomplishment.
The NNDCC program, while modeled on the NJROTC program, is primarily funded by host school and school district.
The Bandera Independent School District will cover the costs for uniforms, equipment and instructor salaries, and the Navy will provide funding for textbooks and other lesson materials.
Thanks to a generous gift from local donor High Cotton Ranch, the district has more than adequate funding required to start an NNDCC unit, officials said.
Cadets in the program will dress, drill and participate in activities exactly like the junior reserve officers training corps.
“We are thrilled to be able to offer such an opportunity to the students of Bandera High School,” stated BISD Superintendent Jerry Hollingsworth.
He said, “The NNDCC program fits well with our district’s mission of providing students a variety of choices within a foundation that not only is challenging academically but one that equips them with the skills to become successful, active citizens.”
To be considered for an NNDCC unit, a school must be accredited by a nationally recognized accrediting agency or be accredited by a state, state educational agency or state university.
The school also must have at least 50 physically fit high school students over the age of 14 who are interested in participating as cadets.
“It is such an honor to be able to establish an NNDCC unit at Bandera High School,” stated BHS Principal Ken Vogel.
Dr. Vogel said the Naval Service Training Command provides the curriculum, which is identical to the NJROTC.
He said that in addition to such subjects as citizenship, leadership, naval operations and organization and naval history, cadets receive an introduction to navigation, nautical astronomy, oceanography and electronics.
“We are excited to offer our students a unique alternative to our existing traditional extracurricular activities,” Dr. Vogel said.
Future activities that will be offered through the program include a color guard, drill teams and marksmanship, as well as participating in various community activities and a summer leadership camp.
Participation in the program fulfills the student’s required physical education credit and elective course credit, officials said.
“There are so many benefits available to our students through this program,” Vogel said. “Students who successfully complete three years of NNDCC are entitled to ‘advanced promotion to pay grade E-3’ if they enlist in an active or reserve unit of the Navy or Air Force, and pay grade E-2 when enlisting in the Army or Marine Corps. Successfully completing two years of the program enables students to enlist in the Navy at the pay grade E-2.”
Currently, an E-3 earns $24,512 plus allowances annually, officials said.
For cadets that are college bound, the school’s Senior Naval Science Instructor is authorized to nominate a maximum of three eligible cadets each year to compete for U.S. Naval Academy appointments. He or she also can assist students interested in pursuing reserve officers training corps scholarships.
Cadets also have access to preparatory courses for college entrance exams and guidance in selecting a college and pursuing scholarships and mentoring.
Bandera High will provide information about the NNDCC throughout the year, including application procedures.
Due to COVID-19, initial participation has been limited to 25 cadets this fall.
The program will start this year with one class period and expand to as many as six class periods in the fall of 2021.
Students interested in taking part in the program should talk with their guidance counselor or the Senior Naval Science Instructor at Bandera High, Ret. Commander Mike Gard.
Students and parents can learn more about the program by visiting the Navy JROTC website at www.public.navy.mil/netc/nstc/njrotc/index.aspx.
See the original article: https://www.banderabulletin.com/article/news/bhs-offering-navy-cadet-corps-program