By Scott Bleile

An exciting new opportunity is coming to the Woodbridge Middle School for the new 2020-2021 school year. The school will be offering MMJROTC to eight grade students only with extremely limited space. For information or to sign-up, contact the middle school. 

Tara Downes, Woodbridge Middle School principal, is extremely excited about the new program. “This program is one of its kind in Delaware,” said Downes. “This is like an ROTC lite program. We wanted to add this program because of the interest the program has at the high school. It will help them build the high school program with students coming from our school. We will offer one section per semester for eighth grade students only. This program will provide students with leadership skills and serve as a Segway into the MJROTC program at the high school.”

Lt. Col. David Smith is the head of the program at Woodbridge High School. “This is a new pilot program for the Marine Corps,” said Smith. “This will be the first in the State of Delaware as far as I know. We will be offering a course in leadership for the students to take into their classrooms and into their lives. I have overseen the high school program for two and a half years and we have just hired Gunnery Sgt. Lester James. The class will stress leadership, team building, and commitment to Corp. values to build on. We will put the students into different scenarios to make them think to build confidence. We will also be teaching marksmanship, some physical training along with other themes. This is a new dynamic which will help the students focused in their classes.” 

Downes added, “Lt. Col. and I have been working for months on the details at the middle school level. It is my impression that WMS’s MMJRTOC will serve as a model this year for other programs. Lt. Col. can provide more information on that.

Kelley Thompson, principal at Woodbridge High School stated, “We are excited to expand out MCJROTC program to Woodbridge Middle School. Our instructors have worked extremely hard to create a program that awards our students leadership opportunities while at Woodbridge High School. Our programs at the high school level are far more successful if there are feeder programs in our middle school and we are fortunate that WMS Principal Downes understands this. We are looking forward to this partnership for our MCJROTC Pathway and know it will bring much success for all students involved!”

“We are excited about the expansion of our JROTC program into Woodbridge Middle School,” said Woodbridge Superintendent Heath Chasanov. “The JROTC program has had a huge impact on our students and community and we believe this expansion will only make that impact stronger.”

The Woodbridge Middle School sent home information about the new class hoping for a big response. The letter states “MMCJROTC cadets WILL work to develop self-discipline by learning to pay attention to detail and establishing habits of orderliness and precision. They become part of a winning team that excludes no one. Cadets are taught how to serve their community with a smile through volunteering events. The cadets in this unit have spent hundreds of hours serving the community while learning how to lead events, work a cash register, aid the elderly, and to serve food. Second, third, and fourth year students act as mentors for first year students, creating bonds of unity and friendship, upperclassmen and underclassmen alike. The purpose of the program is to instill in participating middle school students the values of citizenship, service to the United States, personal responsibility, and a sense of accomplishment. The program also hopes to: Promote patriotism, Develop informed & responsible citizens, Develop respect for constituted authority, Develop a high degree of personal honor, self-reliance, individual discipline, and leadership, Promote an understanding of the basic elements and need for national security, Develop respect for an understanding of the need for authority in a democratic society, and Develop interest in service to the United States Policy. MMCJROTC is fun! Your child is given the opportunity to take part in Marksmanship, Color Guard, Raider Challenge, Drill, and much more. Students will exhibit determination and commitment required of a winner! Space is limited so you MUST act now! Send in your interest in enrolling your child in this semester ng course. Use this postage paid envelope to return this form with your interest by May 29.”