Local JROTC Program on Hold Due to Sequester

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BOONVILLE - High school students at Boonslick Technical Education Center were expecting more this Spring, but due to the government sequester and the hiring freeze the intended Junior Reserve Officers' Training Corps (JROTC) is put on hold till further notice.

Garret Gamel is a junior attending the Boonslick Technical Education Center and says he was looking forward to beginning JROTC.

"I planned on going into the military because it would be better for my future,"Gamel said, "JROTC would help my military future a lot and would teach me better leadership skills." 

JROTC was scheduled to start for the first time in more than 20 years at Boonslick this January, but it's now on hold with hopes for next fall. Instead of JROTC, the school is starting a Club JROTC for the students to still learn the skills associated with the U.S. Army program. 

Boonslick Technical Education Center Director Karen Brosi says the school is very hopeful and is on a waiting list because of funding.

"We were all set to go and then lost funding because of the government sequester," Brosi said, "But we are first on the merit list by JROTC Cadet Command, which means we'll be the first school to get the program if funding changes."

Gamel's dad, Veteran Scott Gamel, who is also a member of the Boonslick Technical Education Center Advisory Board, also says they are first in line when the money is released to get started.

"Students, whether they let us know or not, are looking for guidance, they're looking for discipline whether they admit it or not and this is something that will help them put them in that direction," said Scott Gamel.

Brosi said the target is 100 students for JROTC but until the sequester is over, Garret and several other students won't get the chance to experience this program designed to "build better citizens."

Boonslick Technical Education Center hosts five high schools and is number one on the merit list according to Cadet Command, which means once the government allows more money to be spent in this department Boonslick is the first school to get JROTC in the Mid-Missouri area. 

Brosi and other members of the advisory board are attending Career and Technical Education Day on February 12 to meet with state legislators about this situation.