La Cueva High School’s JROTC program received the distinguished honor of being one of 13 schools in the country designated as a Naval Honor School.
In an Oct. 27 Albuquerque Public Schools press release, Cadet Elizabeth Martinez said the honor is well deserved. “I think that everyone in this program really deserves it, and we all worked hard to get here. I’m really happy, and I just hope that other cadets feel happy about it and they’re proud,” Martinez said.
Master Sgt. Roberto Valdez, APS director for Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps Instruction, congratulated 1st Sgt. Alberto Griego and the school’s cadets in person.
“I definitely had to come out and congratulate them on this honor,” Valdez said, adding that the program has great marksmanship and drill teams. “They’re winning competitions. They’re participating. They’re engaging in the community. You have to do everything well – a little bit of this, a little bit of that. First Sgt. Alberto Griego and his cadets here at La Cueva just really hit it out of the park.”
Cadet Gunnery Sgt. Frish explains in an APS YouTube video how the Marine Corps JROTC program instills leadership traits in cadets. Frish says they are taught to live by the acronym JJDIDTIEBUCKLE, which stands for justice, judgement, dependability, integrity, decisiveness, tact, initiative, endurance, bearing, unselfishness, courage, knowledge, loyalty and enthusiasm.
“Everything that they do is just above and beyond,” Valdez says in the video. “So, I would say that the students are taught life skills. Some of the things that we don’t get in English class or math class, but more of the critical thinking — how would you handle this and why?”
Cadet Iris Matthews said La Cueva’s JROTC program isn’t about trying to win awards but rather to do well across the board.
“I’m very honored, truly. I think that what got us there was the help of our senior Marine instructors. They have been so helpful and important role models for us,” Matthews said. “I also believe it has to do with the fact that we don’t strive for accolades. We just strive for excellence in everything that we do.”
The JROTC and leadership programs are offered in middle schools and high schools throughout the country. Although many cadets will go on to serve in the armed forces, the programs are not meant to be a recruiting tool.
“We are not a military recruiting program at all. It was a way that we could build our forces way back in the day, but it has become something more,” Griego said. “It’s actually a place where students can go and learn how to be a productive person in society and within the community.”
For more information on the school’s program, visit the La Cueva JROTC website.