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Long BOE considers JROTC program
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The Long County Board of Education recognized Avery Dibernardo for being a First District RESA (Regional Education Service Agency) winner in the 2018-19 Georgia Young Authors Writing Competition. Avery poses with Long County School Board Superintendent David Edwards. (Photo/Denise Etheridge)

The Long County Board of Education were briefed on how the JROTC (Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps) program can improve students’ confidence and teach leadership skills during a regular board meeting April 15. Long County School Superintendent David Edwards said Long County High School did not have space for the program in the past, but can now accommodate this type of program.

Capt. (Retired) Lee Sirmans and Andy Smith addressed the school board about implementing JROTC in future. Smith said the program is expanding, with 127 Georgia high schools that currently offer JROTC. When asked if the school district could start JROTC at LCHS this coming August, Smith said realistically it would be better to consider it for the following school year.

“This program is not to recruit your children to join the Army,” he emphasized. The program – which can be a designated CTAE (Career, Technical and Agricultural Education) pathway – is geared to help students stay in school and graduate, Smith explained.

“It is not designed to be a discipline program,” he said. “It’s designed for the whole school; to have the athletes, to have the scholars.”

“Our goal is to challenge them (students) to be better, productive citizens,” Sirmans said. Sirmans teaches three blocks of JROTC curriculum at Metter High School in Candler County, Ga.

Smith said a new JROTC curriculum, drafted by educators, will soon be rolled out. The program also offers JROTC cadets extracurricular activities. Cadets can compete in drill or marksmanship events, participate in honor guard or march in community-held parades, he said.

JROTC has shared support from the armed services and schools, the JROTC program website reads. The program can be found in more than 1,700 public and private high schools, military institutions and correctional centers across the country, according to

In other school board business, board members approved the funding for the proposed installation of a new radio tower. Edwards said the tower would cost $40,777, and the expense would be split 50/50 with the Long County Board of Commissioners and Long County Sheriff’s Office. A safety grant of about $48,000 may also be used to help pay for the tower and some radio equipment, the superintendent said.

After the board reconvened from executive session, members approved a consent agenda of certified and classified personnel recommendations. These recommendations included approving employment, transfers and resignations.

Several of these personnel decisions included promoting Wregina Carryl from assistant principal to principal at McCleland Elementary School effective in the 2020 fiscal year, and transferring Kay DeLoach from instructional coach to assistant principal at MES for FY2020. 

The board of education also approved a whole board training for May 20, and an early release on the last day of the current school year, May 21.

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