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Bryant High School Athletics

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MOSLEY JROTC NAMED TOP 10 OF PROGRAMS

Every year, the Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps paves a road from high school to military academies to thousands of U.S. graduates. And that road is now easier for Mosley High School students with the school’s JROTC being designated a Naval Honor School for the 2015-16 school year. The designation puts Mosley — the only Naval Honor School named in Florida — among the top 10 percent of Marine Corps JROTC programs nationwide. The Mosley program focuses on leadership, citizenship and involves physical training, uniform inspection and learning about military history, said instructor Master Sgt. Beth Piccolo, who was named Bay District Schools 2015 Teacher of the Year. “We try to take these young adults and teach them those leadership traits they can take to be successful in the world,” instructor Kenneth Hicks said. About 120 students are in the program, including junior Cadet 1st Sgt. William Jordan, who joined as a freshman. Jordan said the school’s distinction has been well received. “In my platoon, everyone was cheering and happy,” he said. “I couldn’t stop smiling.” Jordan said before he joined the program, he was introverted and didn’t like public speaking. But now he has gotten involved in student government, is respected by his peers — who he also is able to influence — and has acquired a reputation as disciplined. “Your confidence level goes up exponentially,” said Jordan, who plans on going to college and afterward going into the police force. Mosley senior and Cadet Commanding Officer Isabelle Williams said everyone was ecstatic and honored with the recognition. She is now in her fourth year with JROTC, saying she had wanted to join since the seventh grade. Her goals after high school are to join the Air Force Reserves, attend college and work either with the FBI or as a nurse. Several criteria were considered in the selection of Naval Honor Schools, including cadet citizenship, student involvement in school government organizations and the number of community service hours both for the entire unit and per cadet. The status gives Mosley the ability to send nominations to the U.S. Naval Academy, the U.S. Air Force Academy and the Military Academy at West Point. It also provides students who want to join a service academy the advantage of earning recommendation letters from their JROTC instructors, which now carries the same weight as a letter from a U.S. representative or senator, according to a press release. JROTC has been at Mosley since the school began in the 1970s, Principal Sandy Harrison said. The program has been in good standing for its duration and has a good reputation in the community, she said, adding students in the program are respectful and well behaved. Having a supportive principal is a big part of the program, Piccolo added. “I’m proud of our ROTC program,” Harrison said. Photo Credits: Collin Breaux