Makayla Hess and Gray Brown

If you’re interested in the military or just something to look good on your college application, then ROTC is the class for you. ROTC is a student-led military-oriented class. It takes hard work and dedication, but in the end it pays off. It is a year-long class, like band or chorus, but while it gets you out of PE, there is still physical activity. The instructors are strict at times, but always ready to help you when challenges arise. The instructors of this program are Captain Merkle (on the left), Senior Chief Grant, and Chief Williams (on the right).

Luckily, the instructors were nice enough to let us  interview them. First, we interviewed Chief Williams. Chief Williams was in the Coast Guard for over twenty years. If for any reason you are to doubt Chief, please know, he came into NJROTC as an instructor about 5 years ago. Within those years of working in the GHS system, he has been the Sophomore Instructor, but also helps out the other instructors when necessary. Chief Williams may look a little daunting, he is anything but “daunting.” Chief Williams can’t be impolite and cares about all his cadets. NJROTC is a student-led program, so Chief Williams trusts that they will keep it safe. He helps the ones who make mistakes work through it as opposed to yelling at them. Believe it or not, he observes everything and knows his cadets. When the time comes to be serious, he’s as serious as it can get, although he prefers having fun. Chief Williams is a tall, strong, and intelligent person.

Zachary Meeks

One of the other phenomenal leaders in the NJROTC program that we interviewed is Senior Chief Grant. Senior Chief has worked as a JROTC instructor for 14 years. Before this, he served in the Navy for 22 years. Senior Chief Grant is very hands-on, more than the other instructors and makes it a point to have everything said embedded in your brain. Senior Chief Grant mainly works with the freshman, but helps with all as well. Grant’s perceptive advice for rising freshmen coming into the program is “Be ready to step outside of your comfort zone.”

Normally, nobody would want to step into a high school classroom and have to instruct about 15 teenagers per block, but that’s exactly what Captain Merkle, a Coast Guard veteran who served for 25 years, did. Captain Merkle has worked in the GHS system as the Junior and Senior Instructor of NJROTC for 2 years, this being his second year. He is already well-known and admired by his cadets, but Captain Merkle also used to be a math teacher at GHS for 5 years. Captain Merkle is a sharp-witted and gratifying man.. Merkle is someone who would do almost anything for his cadets to help them get through. In ROTC, punishments come in push-ups, but you won’t make the same mistake twice.