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JROTC program photo 1

Junior ROTC Sergeant James Long and rising senior David Caero honor the Class of 2023 at High School North June 16. As it enters the 2023-2024 school year, the district's JROTC Academy has already grown significantly in numbers and popularity. Story below.

Enrollment doubles entering Year 2

July 6, 2023-- The Toms River Regional Schools' U.S. Army Junior Reserve Officers' Training Corps, or JROTC Academy, debuted last summer, to open the 2022-2023 year. And while the interest was apparent from the start, no one was quite sure how it would go.

To say the program-- which is open to all high school students but hosted at High School North-- was a success is an understatement.

The JROTC Academy boasted an enrollment of 30 last year. Entering 2023-2024, that number has doubled to 60 cadets. 

"We have been extremely pleased with the first-year growth of our JROTC program this past year," said HSN Principal Ed Keller. "We feel that the curriculum, which includes leadership, civics, geography and global awareness, health and wellness, life skills, and U.S. history is perfect for students of all ages."

That engaging curriculum combined with individual success stories and a knack for reaching a wide audience. The program quickly established an Instagram account, which has shared photos, reels, stories, and updates, and earned a fast following of hundreds of users in a short time.

Among those featured in its 75-plus IG posts is Sergeant James Long, who led cadets in 2022-2023. It's anticipated that, joining Sergeant Long in 2023-2024 will be Colonel Javier Cortez, a retired ROTC instructor and teacher of military science at Rutgers University.

JROTC Class of 23 student

Mackenzie Kasch is an original cadet looking forward to what Toms River Regional Schools JROTC Academy has in store for Year 2.

By adding cadets, prestige and-- it's expected-- a whole lot more IG posts, the new academy is preparing for an even stronger foothold within the district's culture by this year's end.

"Our job as educators is to help our students grow into problem solvers and productive members of our community," said Keller. "JROTC is the embodiment of those ideals.

"We look forward to the continued growth of the program."

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