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U.S. Senator Roger Wicker Announces Passing of 'JROTC Act' During Recent Visit to Jim Hill High

October 26, 2018

Senator Wicker with Jim Hill JROTC cadets, instructors, and district and city officials
U.S. Senator Roger Wicker, center, visited Jim Hill High School on Tuesday, October 23. Joining him are (adults, from left, front to back) Virgil Lindsey, Jackson City Council member, Ward 6; Dr. Jeanne M. Hairston, JPS School Board President; Ms. Jean Listen, accompanying Charles Tillman; Dr. Shonda Allen, Associate Director, Interdisciplinary Nanotoxicity Center, Jackson State University; Sen. Wicker; Ashby Foote, Jackson City Council member, Ward 1; Steve Guyton, Office of Senator Roger Wicker and Congressman Gregg Harper; Col. (Ret.) Paul Wills, Director of Army Instruction, JPS; Maj. (Ret.) Frank Branch, Jim Hill High; Lt. Col. (Ret.) Raymond Leonard, Senior Army Instructor, Jim Hill High; Charles Tillman, Jackson City Council member, Ward 4; Dr. Jerzy Leszcynski, Director, Interdisciplinary Nanotoxicity Center, Jackson State University; Sam Kursar, Assistant Principal, Jim Hill High; and Edwin Butler, JROTC Bureau Director, Mississippi Department of Education.

U.S. Senator Roger Wicker visited Jim Hill High School on Tuesday, October 23. He met with the cadets and instructors of the school's JROTC unit and shared that legislation he authored last May had been signed into law and would add JROTC programs to more communities.

"I enjoyed meeting with the JROTC cadets and instructors at Jim Hill High School and hearing firsthand how this program has benefited not only these students, but also the entire community," Wicker said. "I am proud to be the author of the JROTC Act, which will expand this successful program to more schools, particularly in the areas where it will have the greatest impact."

Earlier this year, Wicker introduced a bill in Congress aimed at expanding JROTC to include 100 more programs in rural and underserved areas. The JROTC Act—short for JROTC Opportunities for Transformational Change Act–was passed by Congress in August and signed into law in September. As a result, funding for JROTC increased by nearly $10 million. This funding will support about 150 new JROTC units across the country.

Wicker credited the proven success of the JROTC program in JPS as his inspiration for pursuing new funding to support more programs. Jackson Public Schools serves more than 1,000 students enrolled in the JROTC units at all seven of its high schools. The graduation rate of its cadets is about 95 percent. As City Councilman Ashby Foote pointed out in a Clarion-Ledger guest column, that's higher than both the state and the national high school graduation rates. There is also an above 90 percent acceptance rate for JROTC graduates to institutions of higher education. Collectively, the program's graduates receive millions of dollars in scholarships on an annual basis.

The JPS JROTC Program is the largest in the state of Mississippi and among the largest in the region. JPS JROTC cadets are exposed to the ideals of leadership, character development and citizenship training throughout their time in the program.

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