By Christian P. Hodge, HQ AFJROTC Public Affairs
/ Published April 29, 2021
Among many-many wonderful things to include its beautiful Cherry Blossoms, Japan can now be known for the driven and intelligent cadets of Misawa’s JA-931. The 19 pictured here were recognized for academic excellence in the 3rd quarter by Robert D. Edgren High School, and four of them are 8th graders! (Courtesy photo)
A whopping 68 percent of Air Force Junior ROTC Unit JA-931’s cadet corps were formally recognized for their academic prowess in the 3rd Quarter at Robert D. Edgren High School in Misawa, Japan.
Moreover, Edgren’s AFJROTC was one of a 10-unit test program to incorporate 8th graders in the almost 900 unit worldwide AFJROTC enterprise, and their instructor colonel could not be prouder.
“I attribute the cadets’ success to the structure and goals of the AFJROTC program which gives the student the opportunity to become involved in life skills and activities which gives them a sense of accomplishment,” said Col. (ret) Fredrick L. Schuster, AFJROTC Unit JA-931 Senior Aerospace Science Instructor. “The curriculum and activities in AFJROTC allow our cadets to practice being successful in the areas we teach, including the importance of academics. This leads to higher levels of accomplishment in all areas.”
This is the first year 8th graders were allowed to join AFJROTC due to a change in Title 10 of the U.S. Code. The list of these astute cadets comprised two Honor Roll students, 12 High Honor Roll students, and seven Principal’s List students, with four of those being 8th graders (one Honor Roll, two High Honor Roll and one Principal’s List).
“We gave our upper-class cadets the task of instructing and assisting our new 8th graders in what our AFJROTC program is all about and on how they could be successful,” Schuster said. “We wanted the 8th grade cadets to feel as though they were joining a team and not just taking a class, and it worked – Go Eagles!”
The 8th graders were assigned staff positions, given duties within the flights, such as physical fitness leaders, scheduling assistants and logistic assistants. Also, Schuster believes there is an unstructured group mentorship that occurs organically within their Corps because of the pride his cadets feel for themselves and each other.
“I’m very pleased to see JA-931 cadets doing well academically, as grades are top priority for all cadets,” said Robert Atkins, HQ AFJROTC Regional Director, Region 5. “I’m especially pleased to hear how the 8th grade cadets have stepped up to the challenge and demonstrated “Excellence In All We Do” as new Edgren AFJROTC cadets. They are truly active team players to help the unit achieve their goals.”
Atkins believes that when cadets do their best in their studies it enables them to fully experience all AFJROTC has to offer. He said that all cadets, as citizens of character, should strive to possess this kind of hard-working attitude as it will help them achieve their long-term dreams and aspirations.
“Our cadets know that academics comes before anything else in our program,” said Schuster. “We preach ‘Prepare for the Opportunity’ and to be academically ready to accept any challenge, be it in school or in the workplace after graduation.”