For nearly a decade, Loudoun County High School has housed the only Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (JROTC) program in Loudoun. Thanks to soon-available space in Dominion High School in fall 2018, that’s about to change.
In 2018, the Academy of Science, which is currently housed at Dominion, will move to the Academies of Loudoun, leaving that designated space open. The Loudoun County School Board unanimously voted to designate that space for a National Defense Cadet Corps (NDCC) program meetings, with at-large member Beth Huck absent.
A NDDC program is identical to a JROTC program except that Loudoun County Public Schools would have to pay for unit equipment and costs instead of the military footing the bill.
Jill Turgeon (Blue Ridge) made the original motion for the board to accept this program, saying that it would provide leadership, scholarship and job opportunities for students. It also gives them the chance to engage more with the community.
Loudoun County Public Schools will apply for an NDCC program with different branches of the military. Then depending on the branch that approves LCPS’ request, the curriculum will include history about that branch as well as coursework surrounding leadership, extracurricular teams and community service.
“These type of programs offer a lot of opportunities for students who may be a little bit limited in their resources,” Turgeon said.
Assistant Superintendent Cynthia Ambrose said that the current JROTC program at County primarily serves students in central Loudoun and does not fully serve eastern Loudoun. A program at Dominion would fill that need.
Although the board unanimously supported the motion, several members expressed concerns. Members Joy Maloney (Broad Run) and Eric Hornberger (Ashburn) brought up expected population growth in eastern Loudoun, particularly in the Park View High School attendance zone. They said this space could be used to serve students down the road. However, Debbie Rose (Algonkian) said she has not heard from her constituents at Potomac Falls High School complain about overcrowding, and after a contentious boundary battle 10 years ago, no one is anxious to revisit boundaries, she said.
Brenda Sheridan (Sterling) said she supports the program but is concerned about providing transportation. As it stands, students in the JROTC program have to provide their own transportation. This can be a burden of entry for some students.