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The Student News Site of Davenport Central High School

The Blackhawk

The Student News Site of Davenport Central High School

The Blackhawk

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Simone Hoogheem
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The Davenport JROTC

Simone Hoogheem
American flag photographed inside Central’s administration office.


First established in 1916 by the National Defense Act (put into place June 3rd of the same year), the Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps stands as one of the oldest programs within the American school system. The program was later adapted to incorporate all branches of the armed forces in 1964 by congress; but in the present day, Davenport Central, is the last school to host the program in the entire Davenport district. West High and North High students come to Central to partake in the program, either joining for future military service or to advance their own character and behavior.

Within this article, we will be covering this historical program, how it currently exists, and how it’s handled by the school.



What is the reason?

In witnessing celebrations and ceremonies done by the JROTC at Central, students hardly hear or see them get the recognition the program or the participating cadets deserve; and from meeting with several members of the JROTC of Davenport Central, including current senior army instructor of the program Colonel Joseph Odorizzi (retired), Battalion Commander Abigail Reed, and Executive Officer Joy Van Patten, it’s nigh disappointing with their hard work going without greater recognition from our school. The following is an interview with the formerly mentioned and more.



What is JROTC and What can it offer?

Contrary to popular belief, the JROTC is not a military recruitment program. While funded by the United States armed forces, the program’s main purpose is not to recruit people to the armed forces in any way. Though it can lead to benefits within the armed forces, its primary focus is not recruitment . If anything, its benefits to the armed forces are parallel with its benefits in the job market and furthering education.

The following is a collection of questions and answers from both Senior Instructor Colonel Joseph Odorizzi and members of staff within the JROTC classroom (first block).


Colonel (retired) Joseph Odorizzi, Senior Instructor of the Davenport Central JROTC
(Simone Hoogheem)
Colonel (retired) Joseph Odorizzi

Q: What is JROTC?
A: JROTC is a four year leadership program, established by congress for High-school students, and is the largest program of its type in the world.
Q: How can JROTC benefit its cadets?
A: The biggest thing it offers cadets to have their leadership skills.


Battalion Commander Abigail Reed
Captain Abigail Reed, Lieutenant Colonel and Battalion Commander (Simone Hoogheem)

Q: What are your views on the program?
A: A good team building thing that allows for growth.


Executive Officer Joy Van Patten

Q: What are your views on the program?
A: This program shows you discipline, conduct and to be respectful; small things that make a big difference in life.



Expectations and Participation

Students within the program are expected to be on their best behavior in and outside of the program. They represent the whole district, though there will always be some outliers. For ranks such as Executive Officer, Battalion commander and Cadet supervisor, they have responsibilities like organizing daily PT (physical training), along with events such as Homecoming, Colorguard, and planning out parades.
Along with this, students are mostly the ones in charge of planning, orchestrating and managing lower ranks and cadets. Of course with proper supervision. “Students lead and plan with supervision,” said Colonel Joseph Ordorizzi. Students in the program show increasing determination and admiration to take on their responsibilities. From interviews with staff, the program itself is one that helps build the character of those within it whether they joined on their own accord or were introduced from a family member.




As previously mentioned, the JROTC offers benefits when joining the armed forces. The higher the rank a cadet has in JROTC, the higher a cadet can get when joining the armed forces (Highest rank being an E-3 Army Private First Class if joining the Army). However, the benefits of the JROTC go far beyond that. Four years within the JROTC, along with gaining higher rank within the program, can go quite far when applying for jobs, showing your employer you have the capability to handle large amounts of responsibility and potentially even manage people well. The JROTC can also offer scholarships and show colleges a rather beneficial background showing you could be a good student (and successful) within their establishment. “Say we both apply for the same college, we have the same GPA, we did the same sports, maybe even on the same sports team. But I was in the JROTC. That can make quite the difference when colleges pick who to accept” said Colonel Joseph Odorizzi.



Problems and Conclusions

The JROTC, for all its benefits and opportunities, seems to be more known about then talked about. From interviewing the staff it was learned that the JROTC doesn’t have as many members as it could. “We need more leadership, a lot of cadets do step up, however we are low on staff having 2 when we should have 5 full staff,” said Cadet Supervisor Maddix Scace. While speaking with Colonel Odorizzi about JROTC’s lack of acknowledgement on things such as the announcements, and pointing out the other clubs and programs listed and discussed daily.

In researching, I’ve seen the most recent news on the JROTC was a 2020 segment on the Blackhawk written by former student Kobe Willits. From this we hope to show the issue, and the facts of what this program offers the students of this district as the only JROTC program in the Davenport school district.



Why did you join? (Continued Questions with Students Within the JROTC Program)

“Because I was a shy kid and wanted a confidence boost.” 

“It’s a good way to break out of your shell.” 

– Abigail Reed, Battalion Commander and Lieutenant Colonel 


“I joined because a lot of my family members were in the military, my sister was also in the program.”

– Maddix Scace, Cadet Supervisor and First Sergeant

Maddix Scace, Cadet Supervisor and First Sergeant  (Rebecca Patrick)


“My sister was in it before. It sounded interesting, and I felt it could improve my character.”

 –  Joy Van Patten, Executive Officer and Major


“I originally joined for the marine perspective after that was shut down, I joined the military, it was fun and a good way to meet new people and friends.” 

– Tory Slater, Squad Leader and Sargent

We welcome all students, any students who are looking to challenge themselves. looking to hone their leadership and character in the community, not just potential service… Even if students are just curious about the program they are welcome.

— Colonel (retired) Joseph Odorizzi, Senior Instructor of the Davenport Central JROTC


Closing Quotes

To close off, here is a quote from Colonel Joseph Odorizzi, that shows what the JROTC is looking for and who is welcome.

“We welcome all students, any students who are looking to challenge themselves. looking to hone their leadership and character in the community, not just potential service” 

“Even if students if students are just curious about the program they are welcome.” 

  • Colonel (retired) Joseph Odorizzi Senior Instructor of the Davenport Central JROTC


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