MIAMI (CBSMiami) – All branches of the military were represented Friday at Tropical Park.
Roughly one thousand Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (JROTC) cadets marched across the field in perfect sync.READ MORE: Miami-Dade Launches Building Blocks Fund For Affordable Housing
Master Sgt. Michael Jones, an instructor at Miami Jackson Senior High, beamed with pride. It’s all about the cadets and what they take away with them.
“The mission of the ROTC is to motivate young people to be better citizens. And that’s what it’s all about,” said Jones.
The march is called “The Pass in Review.” It’s a long-standing military tradition that began as a way for a newly assigned commander to inspect his troops. It’s a chance for some of these cadets to be honored with “Excellence in Leadership” awards. It also offers an opportunity to reflect on what ROTC taught them.
William Burkett is a senior at Miami Beach High and is a member of its Navy ROTC. He only spent one year in the program after moving to South Florida from Spain.
“Out of this one year I got responsibility instilled, got myself organized. I have order in my life and I know a little more about the military,” he said.READ MORE: Saturday Is 'Kids To Park Day', Get Outside, Have Some Fun
Genesis Rodriguez, a senior at Miami Killian Senior High School, joined its Army ROTC program when she was a freshman.
“Discipline, leadership, a lot,” said Rodriguez. “Being respectful. Knowing how to speak to people correctly.”
As the cadets march and snap off a salute, for some the last time, Master Sgt. Jones takes solace in his teachings and the impression he instills. His gratification comes from seeing the big change his students make in 4 years.
“Once they get to their 12th-grade year, to see the big change in them”, said Jones. “And they can go out in the world and make the world a better place.”
For many of these students, going out into the world could mean seeing it through the eyes of the military. It looks like that will include Rodriguez.
“I was in ROTC all four years because I’m interested in the military. I might enlist in four months when I graduate,” she said.MORE NEWS: Florida Man Who Killed Co-Worker Over Affair Gets Life In Prison
Of the roughly one thousand ROTC cadets, Master Sgt. Jones says only 10-percent will enlist in four years of service in one of the military branches.