By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Cadets Shine At Inspection
With flags flying, heads held high and marching in unison, more than 80 cadets of the Navy Junior Reserve Officer's Training Corps at Riverbank High School paraded before a visiting officer on Thursday.

Capt. Dan Wenceslao, USN (Ret.) and Commander of the NJROTC's Area 13, was making his annual inspection and review of the local unit.

For the first time the ceremony was held indoors, in the Ray Fauria Gym, instead of on the football field. The organizers were wise to take precautions against the weather. It was raining as the occasion began.

Following remarks by the school's senior naval science instructor Chief Warrant Officer Harry Rushing (USN Ret.) and introduction of city and school officials, Capt Wenceslao, RHS Principal Christine Facella and Cardozo Middle School Principal Alice Solis as keynote speaker addressed the crowd.

Officials such as Superintendent of Schools Ken Geisick, school district trustees Ron Peterson, John Mitchell and Elizabeth Meza, Stanislaus County Supervisor Bill O'Brien and Riverbank City Council member Richard O'Brien walked past the cadets standing at attention in the Trooping the Line ceremony. A group of rifle bearing cadets gave an exhibition of an armed drill. A color guard presented and later retired the colors.

Congress established the Naval Junior ROTC in 1964, there are now 635 units operating throughout the United States, Guam, Italy and Japan and this is the 18th year of existence for the RHS NJROTC.

Wenceslao said he reviews more than 50 school units each year including thousands of cadets. He complimented the RHS unit on its high standards and praised the unit's leaders on bringing up enrollment from about 50 a few years ago to close to the minimum 100 cadets the Navy would like to see at each school.

He also noted student corps leader Ben Hodges has been awarded a scholarship to the Air Force Academy in Colorado, adding he would have preferred Hodges go into the Navy but he had won a high distinction and he was still bound for the military.

Making the keynote speech, Solis said the NJROTC Corps instills "essential ingredients" for students to build their 'Pyramid of Success.'

"Each cadet develops good citizenship and patriotism, self-reliance and leadership, ability to communicate well both orally and in writing, an appreciation of the importance of physical fitness and knowledge of team building," she said.

Naval Junior Reserves Officers Training Corps is a winning program, she continued, teaching cadets - young people - "good habits" and skills to maximize their full potential in the world, to be successful, informed, responsible and productive citizens.

"NJROTC - it's not just a class, it's an adventure..." Solis said. "The school bell rings, students fall into ranks, come to attention, then smartly march into the classroom, recite the Pledge of Allegiance and begin the day's lesson. This is not just any class, but one where order, responsibility and patriotism prevail - it's the NJROTC classroom."