Spotlight: Shaping youth the Raider way

Contributed photo
Shannon O'Neil, a 4th grader at Spring Creek Elementary, repacks some of the food donated during a food drive she organized at her school to benefit the South Fort Myers Food Pantry. Shannon participated in the "Bridge the Road to Hunger 5k" last week, placing 3rd in her age group. She organized and promoted the food drive in conjunction with the race.

Contributed photo Shannon O'Neil, a 4th grader at Spring Creek Elementary, repacks some of the food donated during a food drive she organized at her school to benefit the South Fort Myers Food Pantry. Shannon participated in the "Bridge the Road to Hunger 5k" last week, placing 3rd in her age group. She organized and promoted the food drive in conjunction with the race.

Who: Teresa Galgano, senior Army instructor, Lieutenant Colonel U.S. Army, retired JROTC

What: Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (JROTC) program

Where: Estero High School

Principal: George Clover

Grade level: Grades nine through 12

Teresa Galgano retired loves what she does. For the past four years, the Cornell University graduate has been serving as an Estero High School Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (JROTC) instructor.

The JROTC’s purpose, according to Title 10 of the U.S. Code, is “to instill in students, in United States secondary educational institutions, the value of citizenship, service to the United States, personal responsibility, and a sense of accomplishment.”

The JROTC began in 1916 from a program designed to recruit enlisted persons and officer candidates. Today’s focus is on “a citizenship program, devoted to the moral, physical and educational uplift of American youth.” From its early start of only six units, today the JROTC curriculum is taught in 1,645 schools nationwide, with 281,000 cadets and 4,000 active duty Army retirees as instructors.

Bryant Robinson is also an instructor and has taught the program to young cadets for the past 14 years of the 22 years it was established at Estero High School. A Southwest Florida resident for as many years, Robinson carries out the curriculum goals, which more recently focuses on “character building and civic responsibility.”

Coach Jeff Sommer, Estero High School athletic director says, “I love the discipline, teamwork and camaraderie these kids display, everyday, in and out of practice.”

We caught up with Galgano, who provide details about Estero’s JROTC.

The Banner: Who funds the JROTC?

Teresa Galgano: The JROTC is primarily funded through the Federal Government and through student fundraising and donations.

TB: How involved are the students for the competition?

TG: Even though this event is quite grueling for young teenagers, they continue to come out every day. We have a Raider Challenge Competition, for which they work hard and train hard, year after year.

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