Several misconceptions need to be cleared up as the fund campaign to raise money for uniforms for the students who enroll in the Junior ROTC program in August at Washington High School rolls onward. It has to do chiefly with the purpose of the program.

It is not to prepare students for the military.

It is to develop leadership traits, give students a citizenship course and to instill discipline principles in the participants.

While it does give an individual military skills, that is not the main purpose. Some students may want to enter the military right out of high school, which happens now. With a Junior ROTC background, a student who enters the military will be steps ahead of those individuals who did have that training.

The program is optional for students, like other traditional extracurricular activities. It is possible for St. Francis Borgia Regional High School students to enroll in the program.

The instructors will have military backgrounds. There will be a director, who usually is a retired officer. The goal is to have 100 students in the program within a year or two.

Another point. Junior ROTC is not new. Many high schools have had the program for many decades. High schools at Pacific and St. Clair have had the program for years.

We have been asked, what does ROTC stand for. It means Reserve Officers Training Corps.

The campaign for uniform funds has gone over the $16,000 mark. The goal is $25,000.

A question being heard is, why didn’t we have this program years ago? The answer is that for whatever reasons no one or group advocated the program.