Pride & patriotism: Service H.S. JROTC cadets give back to community

 Navy JROTC cadets at Service H.S. undergo first uniform inspection
Navy JROTC cadets at Service H.S. undergo first uniform inspection (KTUU)
Published: Oct. 12, 2017 at 4:05 PM AKDT
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In the Service High School cafeteria Thursday afternoon, new cadets in the Navy JROTC program underwent their first uniform inspection.

123 students are taking part this year, in a program that focus on self discipline and community service.

"The four life skills that we always try to teach are learning to show up on time, being properly dressed, having a clear head and being ready to do the job" said Cmdr. George Tolbert, the adult leader of the unit. "And, we tell them that if they can do those four things, they're going to be head and shoulders above their peers."

Some cadets, like Sheila Pagtakhan, hope to pursue a military career. "Seeing military personnel everyday in the news, like watching them fight for our country, that kind of inspires me a lot to kind of give back to the country that's given a lot to me."

Along with learning military-style discipline, the cadets volunteer a lot of their time for community service. Last year, cadets signed up for 6,000 hours.

"Through the leadership and through the volunteer work and community service that they do, they really do build a community around the JROTC program that really effects, in a positive way, the school and school environment" said Frank Hauser, Service High School principal.

One of the cadets nominated the entire unit for a Spirit of Youth Award, given by an organization that recognizes young Alaskans for community service. "This is a way to tell teens people see what you're doing, they appreciate that they're giving back to their community" said Karen Zeman, executive director of Spirit of Youth.

The cadets hope to inspire their fellow students, and others in the community. "If they see that students like us could do it in high school, how we step up and the things we do, how we grow as people, I think it's beneficial and a lot of people could step up as well" said Cadet Lt. Cmdr. Taylor Wright.

If you'd like to nominate a young person for a Spirit of Youth Award, you can contact the organization at its