The Navy Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps (NJROTC) at Daviess County High School had their first full inspection Tuesday morning. Starting before the first bell rang, cadets were adjusting uniforms and shaking off the nerves before Cmdr. Joe Hankins from Great Lakes, Ill. went down the rows.
Lt. Cmdr. Steven White, Senior Naval Science Instructor at DCHS, said the full inspection is usually in March, so this one is very early in the school year. However, he believed the cadets would be prepared because they are routinely inspected every Tuesday by White and other officers as one component of their four-part class grade.
“Students have an academic grade, which includes homework and tests, a uniform grade that is checked [in inspection] every week, a physical education grade, and a community service grade, where they do two services a month,” White said.
Kentucky, Kansas, Illinois, Michigan and Ohio have 54 units from 15 schools competing in this inspection.
“Even though we are a smaller unit [60 cadets], we have received a Distinguished ranking for the last three years,” White said. “And for the last two years, we have been the only school to get that [Distinguished rank].”
The cadets have not worn their uniforms for the last two weeks in preparation for today’s inspection.
“That way they could get them ready, get them dry cleaned,” White said. “We want them to have accountability. They need to be prepared for work and have a responsibility — and accountability — for the way they look.”
Looking straight ahead and not speaking unless spoken to, the cadets were aware of the inspection expectations.
“It’s a different face staring at them and they know this is my boss,” White said. “The unit gets a grade, but each student also gets a grade – Distinguished, Excellent, Average, or Unsatisfactory.”
White is not a recruiter for the Navy and says he is not trying to put the cadets through the Navy, although he intends to help any interested cadets who want to pursue a military career path as he would any other ongoing educational path.
“I am trying to teach them to be on time, do what you are supposed to do. It is a citizenship development class,” White said.
UPDATE: Although the unit did not receive a Distinguished grade as they had hoped, they received an above Average rating.