by Josiah Caparas (Class 2022)
Battalion Command Sergeant Major (head of teams and company First Sergeants) with the rank of cadet Command Sergeant Major
JROTC is truly a program that focuses on making cadets better citizens by providing scholarship, leadership, motivation, and community service opportunities to high schoolers. In this program there are many respected cadets which sets the example and provides direction for those under them. Serving as the Command Sergeant Major has provided me the opportunity to lead cadets in the teams. Pushing myself out of my comfort zone and creating an environment where each cadet could depend on another. This camaraderie has facilitated great leaders who multiply leaders, setting healthy competition with another. I find that learning how to be a leader is essential for any organization to work with a common goal, which JROTC clearly achieves.
By Christina Tran (Class of 2020)
former Executive Officer (Staff Supervisor) with the rank of cadet Major
Being an active Battalion Staff member within Kearny’s JROTC program has provided me with the opportunity to reach my greatest leadership potential and to become the best version of myself. The largely student-run structure of the program allowed me to figure out what I was capable of accomplishing through hands-on programming experience. I learned how to effectively communicate and collaborate with others to reach a common goal, whether that be through planning fun events, award ceremonies that celebrate our cadets, or welcoming incoming students to our campus through orienteering. Another valuable skill I learned was reflection, as demonstrated through my engagement in brainstorming ways that the unit could improve day-to-day operations and morale during Command in Staff briefings or how planning could be smoother in After Action Reports. Furthermore, I grew to appreciate mentorship, both from more senior members of the cadet command and from the Army Instructors. I also gained a sense of belonging within a warm, tight, and close-knit community that I felt I could rely on when I was struggling. The positive experience I had with mentorship has inspired me to become a Peer Mentor through UC San Diego’s OASIS Summer Bridge Program. The collaborative and reflective programming skills I learned as a cadet have translated into this role, as I am responsible for mentoring a cohort of students, maintaining administrative records, communicating with other Peer Mentors and Professional Staff.
by Bob Graeff, Class of 1971
For decades, the bell pictured here sat on the blonde Hamilton piano in the choir room at Kearny Junior/Senior High located on the current Montgomery campus and later in Room 801 of the “new” campus of Kearny Senior High School on Wellington Way. Purchased by teacher Richard Zaloudek shortly after beginning his 31 years of teaching at Kearny, the bell was frequently used by Mr. Z as a way to start class and to gain student attention. Similar to a standard bell found commonly on check-in counters at motels or local businesses, this instructional aid was just one of the many instructional tools used by Mr. Z through the years. When his hand tapped the bell and students heard its very distinctive ring, they knew that class was about to start. Or if students became particularly noisy or lost their focus during rehearsal, the director’s hand would again come down on the bell – signaling students to silence their talking and get back on task. Legend has it that the dent on one side of the bell came as a result of a rare loss of temper by Mr. Z when, during a particularly bad day on the old Montgomery campus, he hurled it against a classroom wall, angered that his choir was not as focused as he preferred. Seeing that Mr. Z personally revealed this incident to students years later at the new campus, it is very likely a true story! After three decades of service, the bell was finally retired in spring 1976 along with Mr. Z – but it remains in good hands and is currently in the care of a very responsible former choir member for safekeeping. Who knows? Perhaps at the next all-decades Choir Reunion, the bell will make another appearance – and we can all remember its cheerful sound, those grand rehearsals, and our wonderful Mr. Z.