A Cherokee County School District JROTC program has received the highest accolades awarded!
The Etowah High School Air Force Junior ROTC program recently earned an overall unit assessment score of Exceeds Standards, the highest rating available. Only one time prior in its 27-year history has Etowah’s JROTC earned this elite score, which ranks the program in the top 12% worldwide.
Units are assessed every few years by a national inspector, who reviews all aspects of the program. The Etowah program is headed by lead instructor, Lt. Col. (Retired) Stephen Bergey, and Technical Sgt. (Retired) Ciarra Malto.
Military Junior ROTC citizenship, leadership and service programs are offered at all CCSD high schools. These classes and their associated extra-curricular programs offer students valuable career and life skills, whether they plan to enlist for military service, pursue a college degree, enter the workforce or a blend of these options.
“We want every graduate to leave our schools ready for future success, and we’re so proud of these cadets and instructors for highlighting the value of JROTC programs with such excellence,” Superintendent of Schools Dr. Brian V. Hightower said. “Congratulations on this and the many other recent accomplishments achieved by the unit. We look forward to reports of even more accolades in the future!”
The program’s numerous extra-curricular programs include an Aero Club, Cyber Patriot and Academic Bowl teams, and the unit’s Raider competition team has earned All-Service National rankings in its first three years competing. In recognition of its excellence, the unit has been recommended for the prestigious AFJROTC unit-level award of Distinguished Unit With Merit for the 2021-2022 Academic Year -- for the first time in the unit’s 27-year existence.
In addition to the honor of the highest assessment score, the accomplishment gives the program the opportunity to retain Honor Unit status for three years and to nominate five students a year for appointment consideration at the U.S. Air Force Academy. Lt. Col. (Ret.) Bergey also has been tapped to develop an Air Force National Championship for the JROTC Raider competition program, and the school has been awarded a $10,000 drone with infrared capability and other special features. He additionally is one of eight nominees, out of 1,900 Air Force JROTC instructors worldwide, being considered for Outstanding Instructor of the Year honors.
Lt. Col. (Retired) Stephen Bergey