Godby High JROTC program in peril due to staff shortage

Colonel Ken David said he hopes his newest group of cadets isn't his last.
Colonel Ken David said he hopes his newest group of cadets isn't his last.(WCTV)
Published: Aug. 22, 2019 at 5:24 PM EDT
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By: Lanetra Bennett | WCTV Eyewitness News

August 22, 2019

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) — Amos P. Godby High School has a JROTC staff shortage, and it could lead to the program's closing.

Colonel Ken David is the instructor for the Airforce JROTC program. He said he hopes his newest group of cadets isn't his last.

"There's a big hole and if they don't fill this hole, then we're going to have to close the program," he said.

The program has a rich, 38-year history. David said the hole was created when the program's other instructor moved. Now, they can't find a qualified person to replace him.

"We've never had that problem before," he said.

David said the issue limits the students' experience since they can't go out on an orienteering program, where they go out in the woods and learn how to use a compass. Plus, the students will do much less community service through the program.

"We also have a drone that we'd like to start working on," David said. "We have an RC airplane. So there's a lot of things we'd like to do, but with only one instructor, it's really difficult to do all those extra things."

Junior Cadet Major Caleb Martens said he plans to follow his father's footsteps and join the Air Force.

"Just thinking about the possibility of losing this program, not only just for me, but for all the cadets, this program means a lot," Martens said.

Another student, Shonda Smith, said she wants the program to stay alive.

"It really makes me feel sad because it's really helped me," Smith said. "It really helps me grow, so I really like it."

David said there are about 50 non-commissioned officer positions opened worldwide.

The requirements include an Air Force non-commissioned retiree that has been out of the military for five years or less.

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