After 18 years, Sussex Tech will close its U.S. Army JROTC program at the end of this school year.
Despite extensive research and outreach, school spokesperson Dan Shortridge said, JROTC Cadet Command has informed the district there are no certified instructors available in Delaware.
“The program needs two instructors to operate – one commissioned and one noncommissioned instructor, each of whom must be retired from the U.S. Army with at least 20 years of service,” Shortridge said in a March 10 statement.
Sussex Tech has advertised in local media outlets and on social media to attract applicants, Shortridge said.
“The district sought every available opportunity to ensure the program will continue, but faced a deadline to allow students to seek other JROTC opportunities at their home school districts; to ensure students were able to sign up for another elective course to replace JROTC; and to properly dispose of U.S. Army equipment used in the program,” Shortridge said.
“We are extremely proud of our cadets’ accomplishments,” Shortridge said. “JROTC has made a huge difference in the lives of so many of our students, and we wish that it could continue.”
The future of Sussex Tech’s JROTC program came into question after the program’s two instructors announced their departures, and no instructor candidates were identified, school officials said in a Feb. 19 statement.
About 110 students in all grade levels are enrolled in the program. Shortridge said the decision gives cadets enough time, if they choose, to return to their home districts, which may offer JROTC to complete their training.