Ambitious students in West Lincoln High Schoolâ€™s JROTC have already started preparing for the next school year.
â€œItâ€™s a lot of what they did in one year shoved into one week,â€ said Lt. Cmdr Karl Jordan.
Students involved in the high schoolâ€™s program began a week long Leadership Camp on Monday.
They spend their days learning about practicing drills, playing football and learning about military procedures and terms.
They also get lessons in leadership from both teachers and fellow students.
â€œI know how to present myself as a leader,â€ said Justine Solak, a member of the JROTC who went to South Carolina for leadership training course.
â€œItâ€™s easier for me now because I know a lot more about what Iâ€™m doing, and I know how to treat the cadets in a way that wonâ€™t downgrade me and helps them,â€ she said.
The majority of the students attending the leadership week have already had JROTC classes.
They hope to keep their skills sharp over the summer and have a little fun in the process.
There are also a dozen students who have never taken JROTC and hope to learn more about the program.
â€œI wanted to get a head start on the class,â€ said Nelson Spears, a rising sophomore.
Nelson plans to take the class in the fall, but has no intention of joining the military.
â€œI just donâ€™t think Iâ€™d like it,â€ he said.
He does enjoy the summer program.
â€œYou have more freedom than you usually do in school,â€ he said. â€œYou learn new things, and it keeps you interested.â€
Besides memorizing military codes of conduct and learning drill maneuvers, the students also get to hear stories from their teachers.
Coast Guard Chief Bill Shipley took some time at the end of the day to tell his students about his time in boot camp.
It turns out Shipley wasnâ€™t quite the master student, and occasionally got in trouble for things like falling asleep in class.
â€œThatâ€™s why I know you all so well,â€ he told his students. â€œI was just like you.â€
Students have time throughout the day to have fun with their friends and hear military stories, but most of them realize the focus of the week is to work.
â€œItâ€™s a learning time, not a time to be goofing off,â€ said Jeff Shaffer, a student.
Some cadets who have taken leadership positions hope to have everyone take things seriously. If they donâ€™t, itâ€™s the studentsâ€™ loss.
â€œIf you want to learn, you can learn,â€ said Kyle Bostic, a student. â€œIf you donâ€™t, we tried our best.â€by Sarah Grano