Lakewood High ROTC earns a rare national honor

On March 12, 2020, the Lakewood High School Navy Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps underwent an extensive military review from inspecting officers. NJROTC programs undergo the reviews periodically and receive evaluations in six different categories: school support, administration, academic program, reports/records, cadet performance and student mentoring.

The day brought some anxiety for retired US Navy Captain Don McMackin, the Naval Science teacher at Lakewood High, as well as his cadets. The review was the culmination of weeks of preparation. Of course, the next day schools in Long Beach and across much of California and the country closed, and the NJROTC was forced to suspend its in-person military reviews.

That made it even more noteworthy when the Lancers’ program received a rare honor a few weeks ago when their results of their review came back: They received a rating of “outstanding” in all six review categories, an achievement accomplished by fewer than 5% of NJROTC programs inspected each year.

“The Lakewood NJROTC was clearly well-prepared and motivated,” wrote one inspector in their report. “The pride and sense of service gave me faith in the next generation. These are dedicated cadets.”

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