SUBMITTED By CHEROKEE HIGH SCHOOL
This year’s Bravo Company is shaping up with three new members in its corps of cadets. Cherokee High School’s Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (JROTC) program teamed up with the Life Skills program to try something new this year. Major Bill Underwood, a twelve-year veteran of the program at CHS (established in 1985), and first-year instructor Sargent 1st Class Alva Brown are working with Martha Humes and Ann Meuse of the CHS Special Education Department to enhance the learning opportunities for students with disabilities at the high school.
The JROTC program is designed to prepare high school students for responsible leadership roles while making them aware of their rights, responsibilities and privileges as American citizens. The curriculum includes strategies to help students improve communication skills, enhance social and ethical values, promote character development and physical fitness, and help develop an “appreciation of teamwork through instruction in drill and ceremonies.” Other activities include parades, drill team competitions and various outdoor activities. The course prepares high school students for ROTC in college and equips them to be successful in life.
Just as the JROTC program prepares students to be successful in life, so does the Life Skills program at CHS. The Cherokee High School Life Skills Class follows the NCEXTEND I curriculum. The NCEXTEND I is North Carolina’s Aternate Assessment based on Alternate Academic Achievement Standards. The intent of the Life Skills class is to teach academic skills of students with disabilities and provides access to the general education curriculum using the North Carolina Extended Content Standards. Martha Humes has been with the program for five years, and Ann Meuse has worked with the students for four years. Together they teach a curriculum and construct activities to help students with personal and academic development. The program builds confidence, teaches skills, and provides knowledge to students as they transition to post-school independent living.
Courtney George is a senior who makes a mean blueberry cobbler. Out of the kitchen, she likes to do nails and look at fashion magazines.
Humes said, “She is a good student and loyal friend to her classmates.”
Brown added, “She is quiet and always smiling. Courtney is always helping others with their uniforms, making corrections and getting it just right. She mothers the cadets and seems to enjoy JROTC.”
Daniel Tramper is a sophomore and likes to play computer games and watch movies. When he takes a break from that he enjoys puzzles and books.
Humes said, “He just can’t get enough computers. He likes cleanliness and organization and is a great help at home.”
Brown commented, “Daniel is making progress learning how to stand at attention in formation, and he is continuing to improve in group interaction. He is becoming more acclimated to group settings, and we look forward to see what he accomplishes this year in JROTC.”
Nathan Gaddis is a senior and excels at riding bikes and taking things apart.
Humes said, “He is very energetic and loves to go places and meet new people.”
Brown related, “Nathan is becoming my little buddy. He is very enthusiastic and loves his uniform. He likes to salute and shake hands, and even enjoys playing jokes now and then. He has a great sense of humor.”
Last week, the students had the chance to do the “Slide for Life Rope Bridge.” Instructors set up ropes between two poles in the stadium, and students swung from one to the other. Of the three Life Skills program cadets, Nathan completed the slide.
Major Underwood said, “I look forward to seeing the leaps and bounds these students will take in training and life.”