Photo: Capt. Will Hays, 33° (USN Ret.), Valley of San Diego, presents a medal and certificate to a deserving Vista High School JROTC Cadet.
“I would like all our students to have the motivation and zeal demonstrated by this JROTC unit.” These are the words of the principal of a local high school on the occasion of recognizing the achievements of JROTC cadets. The San Diego Valley of the Scottish Rite has developed a program that supports the twenty-five high school JROTC and three college ROTC units in San Diego County. This past year, two high schools outside of our area requested to be included in our JROTC recognition program. They were readily accommodated.
A shot of patriotism goes through me at a JROTC Awards ceremony when I hear a high school student order, “March on the Colors,” with the JROTC Color Guard presenting the national and unit flags for proper recognition. A JROTC student then sings the National Anthem and another leads the Pledge of Allegiance to our flag. This is the usual start of a JROTC Awards ceremony. In attendance are representatives of various local veterans’ organizations and other groups to present awards to these cadets. In San Diego the Scottish Rite is well represented as are the National Sojourners.
The Scottish Rite offers a coveted award to a third-year student at both the high school and the college levels. The criteria for this award, established by the Supreme Council, S.J., includes demonstration of and leadership in Americanism by conduct on campus and in the local community, and demonstrating academic excellence and leadership potential by being dependable, of good character, with self-discipline and patriotism. The senior instructor makes the selection using these standards.
The Scottish Rite is represented at the award ceremony by a Scottish Rite Mason who is a veteran. The presentations to each of these awardees include the Scottish Rite Medal, an official certificate of recognition, a letter of congratulations signed by the Personal Representative of the SGIG in California, and a check ($50 for the high school JROTC and $100 for the college ROTC).
The Supreme Council’s program recognizes the importance of youth training to develop self-discipline, integrity, patriotism, and leadership is effective, and the San Diego Scottish Rite is proud to be an important part of this.
It is great hearing the parents and teachers say how proud they are of their JROTC cadets.
—Submitted by Ill. Will Hays, 33°