Junior joins JROTC program at East High

Since the beginning of his junior year of high school, Nathan Haboon has been attending Waterloo’s East High JROTC program. Haboon originally found out about ROTC programs through an advertisement on YouTube.

“I liked the idea of having the curriculum of learning discipline for a military program. I thought it was a neat concept,” he said.

The program replaces his physical education elective.

“The periods go by company names. I’m a part of alf company. I go over to East High for my first period, and we do whatever they need. If it’s Friday, it’s a PT day. Then I have a commute period going back to the high school. If it’s in the middle of the day, then you have two commute periods, one to go to East High and one to go to come back to Cedar Falls. It’s really convenient having it in the morning. I’ve been doing it for a little bit now. Right now I am a let 1, but people who have been in since their ninth grade, they would be let 4’s, and by now the let 4’s are the seniors, and really seniors in general are the senior officers of the program. The thing that sets ROTC apart from other classes (that’s not military stuff), since it teaches the upperclassmen, they actually teach you the stuff that you go through during the program. The military instructor there (the guy who’s most likely retired from the military) is more or less a football coach who is mostly there as a guide to guide people along.”

Haboon has a strong passion for the skills that JROTC teaches and wants to take it further.

“I’m definitely gonna try to carry it out to senior year,” he said. “My only regret is not starting it sooner because then by next year I would’ve been a senior officer.”

JROTC replaces Haboon’s PE elective in his schedule, but he thinks of it much more than that.

“They teach you to be a good leader, but in order to be a leader, first you have to be a good follower. Besides that, we have our own events, and we volunteer a lot. We have our own sports teams as well such as a rifle, archery and raider competition team, which is a boot camp style competition with an obstacle course that involves teamwork. This is replacing your PE class, so you still have to do that form of physical education.”

Haboon highly recommends joining JROTC. “If you’re interested in leadership or if you don’t have any plans after high school, ROTC does cover your college application as a sports team, leadership training and volunteering.”

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