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Charlotte Amalie
Thursday, May 26, 2022
HomeNewsArchivesMILITARY HIGH SCHOOLS COULD BE AN ANSWER

MILITARY HIGH SCHOOLS COULD BE AN ANSWER

What if we had an Army-run high school in the Virgin Islands? Would it make a difference? I bet it would.
I read with excitement an article in the San Juan Star of Sept. 9, of the first-ever public military academy in the nation. It has just opened with 150 students in inner-city Chicago and its aim is to send students to college.
Officials there run the school under a military regimen and students are carefully selected who can handle this type of environment. The principal comes from the National Guard and the students attend classes in ROTC uniforms. They say that the school runs on strict behavior codes and operates year round. Parents are required to volunteer at the school.
In the Virgin Islands we have a long history of pride in being part of the military and we already have students who are part of the ROTC. I have frequently heard that per capita we have always had more young people joining the military than elsewhere in the United States.
Whether this is true or not, many young people clearly see the military as a means of achieving stability, an opportunity to improve their lives or secure their future.
We have also seen many parents send their children to private, costly military academies on the mainland. Matter of fact, there is even one that annually advertises in a local newspaper and sends recruiters here.
With this history in mind, coupled with the limited local opportunities for our young people (more graduates from high school per year than jobs created) and the ongoing problems in our public school system, why not reach out to the Army and find out if they would like to use the
Virgin Islands as their second site when they expand? I think Virgin Islanders would warmly embrace the school.
One thing that stuck in my mind after reading the story, were the comments of a young girl enrolled in the school: " . . . I hung out in the streets with the wrong crowd. I think this will help me to do better."
Wouldn't it be great for us to hear many of our young people saying this? Wouldn't it be great for our young people to be exposed year round to positive role models they could emulate?
Perhaps our powers that be, or the movers and shakers of this community, will look into this program and the benefits that we could derive from it. Perhaps they will start a dialogue at least to explore it as a viable option; I hope so. We need as many positive opportunities for youth as we can garner.
I am told the V.I. National Guard is looking into starting a "boot camp" for troubled youth; perhaps they can also dedicate time to starting a public military academy to reduce the future need
for things like "boot camps." I am sure that we have sufficient retired military and educational personnel who would gladly rise to the challenge of developing this plan.
What will all this take? Let us at least find out.
Editors' note: Catherine Lockhart-Mills of St. Thomas, a former Human Services commissioner, holds a master's degree in social work. You can send comments to her on the articles she writes or topics you would like her to address at source@viaccess.net.

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What if we had an Army-run high school in the Virgin Islands? Would it make a difference? I bet it would.
I read with excitement an article in the San Juan Star of Sept. 9, of the first-ever public military academy in the nation. It has just opened with 150 students in inner-city Chicago and its aim is to send students to college.
Officials there run the school under a military regimen and students are carefully selected who can handle this type of environment. The principal comes from the National Guard and the students attend classes in ROTC uniforms. They say that the school runs on strict behavior codes and operates year round. Parents are required to volunteer at the school.
In the Virgin Islands we have a long history of pride in being part of the military and we already have students who are part of the ROTC. I have frequently heard that per capita we have always had more young people joining the military than elsewhere in the United States.
Whether this is true or not, many young people clearly see the military as a means of achieving stability, an opportunity to improve their lives or secure their future.
We have also seen many parents send their children to private, costly military academies on the mainland. Matter of fact, there is even one that annually advertises in a local newspaper and sends recruiters here.
With this history in mind, coupled with the limited local opportunities for our young people (more graduates from high school per year than jobs created) and the ongoing problems in our public school system, why not reach out to the Army and find out if they would like to use the
Virgin Islands as their second site when they expand? I think Virgin Islanders would warmly embrace the school.
One thing that stuck in my mind after reading the story, were the comments of a young girl enrolled in the school: " . . . I hung out in the streets with the wrong crowd. I think this will help me to do better."
Wouldn't it be great for us to hear many of our young people saying this? Wouldn't it be great for our young people to be exposed year round to positive role models they could emulate?
Perhaps our powers that be, or the movers and shakers of this community, will look into this program and the benefits that we could derive from it. Perhaps they will start a dialogue at least to explore it as a viable option; I hope so. We need as many positive opportunities for youth as we can garner.
I am told the V.I. National Guard is looking into starting a "boot camp" for troubled youth; perhaps they can also dedicate time to starting a public military academy to reduce the future need
for things like "boot camps." I am sure that we have sufficient retired military and educational personnel who would gladly rise to the challenge of developing this plan.
What will all this take? Let us at least find out.
Editors' note: Catherine Lockhart-Mills of St. Thomas, a former Human Services commissioner, holds a master's degree in social work. You can send comments to her on the articles she writes or topics you would like her to address at source@viaccess.net.