Archive for December 2nd, 2009
By Steve Arel
U.S. Army Cadet Command
FRESH MEADOWS, N.Y. — Last spring, right after Francis Lewis High School won a national drill team title, first-year principal Musa Ali Shama reveled in excitement. Though a thousand miles away, he was as joyous as the JROTC Cadets hoisting their crown in Daytona Beach, Fla.
And he wanted to let the world know what his school, his students had achieved.
So he commissioned and erected a banner hailing the victory. This wasn’t just any banner. It takes up a quarter of the school’s façade, even dwarfing the Francis Lewis granite sign near the building’s entrance.
“We have no other banner other than the JROTC banner that says ‘national champion,’ ” Ali Shama said. “As a faculty and administration, we take a lot of pride in that. We know as adults the level of commitment it takes to achieve something like that. It’s a significant achievement not only for our school, but for the county of Queens, the city of New York and for the state of New York.”
With almost 700 Cadets, Francis Lewis’ JROTC program is the largest in the country. It’s also one of the most successful — having added a national Raider championship this fall — and, quite possibly, one of the most beloved.
Visitors to the school find JROTC’s presence inescapable. Besides the banner, the lobby is something of a shrine to JROTC. A flat screen display runs a loop that features images of Read the rest of this entry »