"At first, the reason I got in NJROTC was to get out of P.E., and then I discovered all the friends I made and also how (good) I was in it," Chris said.
Chris, a junior, has been in NJROTC for three years, gaining medals, two cords and the privilege of bossing other people around from time to time.
"The medals are really only for physical fitness, but there are numerous other medals, and also the yellow cord is for my (being) platoon commander, and then my favorite one -- the silver cord -- this is my favorite because only the top of the top get these. It's for completing a whole exhausting week of leadership academy."
At the leadership academy, Chris' day started at exactly 4:45 a.m. with a rude awakening of clanging trash can lids and other loud noises. Each day was spent doing something different, such as swimming or shooting, but every day he also had to run an excruciating two miles, he said. "I am also extremely happy, because this year when I go back, I get to go back as a instructor."
When Chris isn't playing soccer or hanging out with friends, he is doing Body Builders or community service or is visiting naval bases.
The stories of people in the military who have risked their lives in service to their county have inspired Chris to stay involved in NJROTC.
"After high school, I plan to go into the military," he said. "Even though NJROTC isn't a recruiting tool for the military, it does help if you do join."
Mandy Whatley is a freshman at Strom Thurmond High School