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La Cueva JROTC Receives National Honor

Posted October 27, 2022, 12:00 AM. Updated March 20, 2024, 1:24 PM.

The LCHS JROTC earned the distinguished honor of being one of only 13 schools in the nation designated a Naval Honor School.

Master Sgt. Roberto Valdez, APS director of JROTC Instruction, is particularly proud of La Cueva's program, partly because La Cueva is one of the high schools he oversees.

"I definitely had to come out and congratulate them on this honor," Master Sgt. Valdez said. "[Receiving this honor] shows how hard they worked to get there. Community service. Obviously, they have a great marksmanship team. They have a great drill team. They're winning competitions. They're participating. They're engaging in the community. You have to do everything well—a little bit of this, a little bit of that. 1st Sgt. Alberto Griego and his cadets here at La Cueva just really hit it out of the park."

When we asked this year's JROTC officers what they thought of the award, they were proud of their fellow students but humble.

"I'm very honored, truly. I think what got us there was the help of our senior Marine instructors. They have been so helpful and important role models for us," said Cadet Iris Matthews. "I also believe that it has to do with the fact that we don't strive for accolades. We just strive for excellence in everything that we do."

"I think that everyone in this program really deserves it, and we all worked hard to get here. I'm really happy, and I just hope that other cadets feel happy about it and they're proud," said Cadet Elizabeth Martinez.

Certainly, the general population is familiar with the discipline and dedication of almost every JROTC program they've had the chance to interact with. In fact, ask your average bystander, and they'll assume that JROTC is so disciplined because it's meant as a recruiting tool for the U.S. Armed Services. While JROTC programs do have ties to the U.S. military, recruitment is not the intention of these programs.

"We are not a military recruiting program at all. It was a way that we could build our forces way back in the day, but it has become something more. It's actually a place where students can go and learn how to be a productive person in society and within the community," said 1st Sgt. Griego. 

While plenty of the students involved in La Cueva's JROTC program have an interest in joining the Marines or the Air Force after high school (La Cueva's program is sponsored by the Marines), many other students are hoping to pursue a college education so that they can grow into civilian careers like nursing, teaching, and more.

A good JROTC program, like the one at La Cueva High School, encourages students to be more confident, helps them build leadership skills, and teaches them the importance of community and teamwork. Depending on which JROTC team each student joins—like color guard, armed color guard, or rifle team, to name a few—their JROTC program can even provide the opportunity for travel.

It's clear that the amazing students of La Cueva's JROTC program will continue to succeed in their many endeavors, both those related to the military and those outside it.

For more information on La Cueva's JROTC program or to help the La Cueva JROTC students with their next community service project, please visit the La Cueva JROTC website [Link Removed].

 Video -- JROTC: Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps