EYEWITNESS LOCAL NEWSROTC RETIREMENT
from Eyewitness News Online
Herbert Hoover Jr. Air Force ROTC Program Dissolved
Reported by: Leslie Rubin
Videographer: Leslie Rubin
Web Producer: Leslie Rubin
Reported: May. 11, 2012 10:43 PM EDT
Updated: May. 11, 2012 11:00 PM EDT
Clendenin , Kanawha County , West Virginia
Saying goodbye to a program some say saved their lives and put them on the path to success.
Friday marked an emotional end to the Air Force Junior ROTC program at Herbert Hoover High School.
Their funding was cut earlier this year, leaving the Kanawha County school board what they called no option other than to dissolve the program.
For 17 years, they've been known as the guardians of the flag at the school. Students, who leave leaders and more confident and ready to succeed in life.
"I was really looking forward to staying here all four years," said freshman Matthew Shaffer.
"It's one of the greatest classes I've out out here. I mean, nothing can compare to it. None of these classes out here teach you half the stuff this class does. I mean this class teaches you stuf you're going to use in real life," said senior Aaron Gross.
Earlier this year, the group learned their funding had been cut off because they didn't meet a quota of students.
"This program has helped me get on the right track. I'm leaving in September for the United States Air Force Basic Training," said Gross.
"It's heartbreaking," said Master Sgt. Roger Hudson. For years, he's guided the cadets, instilling citizenship, promoting good deeds, and putting them on the path to success. He's afraid without the guidance of the program, some students will veer off course.
"I think there's going to be a lot of kids that could get lost," he explained.
On Friday, for the last time, the group retired their colors and honored themselves for the progress they've made.
"It will make you feel so good when you see a kid succeed," said Hudson.
"How they come out the other side when they graduate. How they've matured. The discipline they have grown, the confidence that has grown with them. It's just awesome. It's a very good program and it's a shame to see it go away," said Sgt. 1st Class Richard Lilly.
The last chapter in a book that's taught many a life long lesson.
Many of the students said they're not ready to leave Jr. ROTC behind, and are transferring schools to stay in the program.
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