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Cool at School: Centennial High School ROTC Program | News

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Cool at School: Centennial High School ROTC Program
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LAS VEGAS - Two hundred and fifty two Junior ROTC cadets at Centennial High School move in lockstep. Every move they make is precise.

"They come in as freshman - slouching, dragging their feet. We teach them to stand up straight. We teach them to stand still," said David Swathwood with Centennial's Junior ROTC program.

"This was the annual military inspection passing review. All cadets show what we've learned, and we give a salute to an officer," said Navy Command Master Chief Lewis Duran.

Trophies filling a classroom provide proof of the program's success. "You can see from the trophies in the room, we compete at drill meets, and the success breeds more success," Swathwood said.

For 12 years, the Junior ROTC program at Centennial has molded future leaders. Graduates often advance to the U.S. Naval Academy or get accepted into colleges on ROTC scholarships. Next fall, Cadet Commander Jared Ortega will attend Grand Canyon University, where he plans to study honors.

"I've learned so much about myself, about life. It's just taught me so much," he said.

Last week, Cadet Commander Ortega presented his company for the final time at Centennial.

"The battalion commander, Ortega, presents his company to the reviewing officer. He watches them as they complete the parade," Swathwood said.

Command Master Chief Lewis Durand is also a senior marching in the military review one last time.

"If there's anyone out there who wants to join, do it. It's something that helps. Everything you learn here will apply," he said.

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