Resident pushes for ROTC at Douglas High | RecordCourier.com
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Resident pushes for ROTC at Douglas High

by Merrie Leininger

They’re looking for a few good kids.

Ann Riggs and Lt. Col. Tim Bunting are looking for those interested in joining up if a junior Reserve Officer Training Corps program is started at Douglas High School.

Riggs said she believes Douglas County is the only county in Northern Nevada without an ROTC program.

“I think the climate’s right. I think we are a very patriotic community and we are very interested to know if others are interested,” Riggs said.

She became interested in the program when one of her sons attended a youth boot camp at Camp Pendleton in Southern California.

“A lot of the students there were in junior ROTC. I was impressed by the whole scene. It’s very patriotic and very disciplined,” she said.

Bunting, who is a representative for the U.S. Army stationed at the National Guard office in Carson City, said the program is not a recruiting vehicle for the military.

“There is no military obligation for junior ROTC,” he said. “It builds better citizens and more responsible adults.”

ROTC’s mission is “to motivate people to be better citizens.”

Riggs said she has discussed the idea with Douglas High School Principal Bev Jeans and Douglas schools Superintendent Pendery Clark, but the main requirement of getting the program off the ground is interest. Bunting said there must be at least 100 students interested in grades 9-12.

The class also requires a four-year commitment and involves after-school activities.

“It’s just like any other class that you take for high school credit. There are extracurricular activities such as rifle shooting, color guard, marching, citizenship and leadership,” Bunting said.

“What’s wrong with an activity that builds leadership skills, responsibility, self-confidence? I think kids are screaming out for those things,” Riggs said. “It’s everything we encourage in our children.”

Bunting said a friend of his who is a vice principal at McQueen High School in Reno thinks the program is great and parents are also very supportive of it. The school has a very active group that has more girls than boys.

The Army pays part of the cost of the instructor, who is a retired member of the military, and also pays for uniforms for the students.

Once the district says it would be willing to help start the class, Bunting said it would still take two years to get it off the ground, so they need feedback from students who are in the 6th grade now.

“No one I’ve talked to has just said it’s a stupid idea. Even my son said he would be in it. From what I have experienced, the interest is there. I just want to know what other people think,” she said.

Anyone can call Riggs at home at 782-7202 and Bunting at work at 887-7234 or 887-7237 to get more information or voice an opinion.