Anchors aweigh! Jordan High School is launching Canyons District’s first Naval Cadet Program, which could begin training future sailors as soon as the fall of 2024.
The U.S. Navy-authorized National Defense Cadet Corps (NNDCC) was approved Tuesday, Oct. 3, 2023 by the Canyons Board of Education and will begin enrolling students this winter for the coming school year. It will be open to all high school students, grades 9-12.
“Jordan High has a strong history of military support and we are proud to be a host site for this popular program,” said Principal Dr. Bruce Eschler. “From the physical fitness requirements of the program to its focus on leadership, science, math, and engineering, this will be a tremendous opportunity for students and a great addition to our school.”
Eschler anticipates great interest in the program and hopes to accommodate 50 to 100 students in its first year. “Our Naval Cadet Corps will be the only program of its kind at a comprehensive high school at the south end of the Salt Lake Valley,” he said.
More information about how to apply for the program will be shared following an official celebratory announcement to be held on the school’s football field at 6:30 p.m., Wednesday, Oct. 11. Veterans and active duty military personnel will receive free admission to that evening’s football game.
Canyons District’s high school students will be able to enroll in the program while remaining at their home schools. Students from outside Canyons can permit into Jordan High to participate.
Jordan was awarded the unit by the Navy after a rigorous evaluation process. The program will begin as an NNDCC, a forerunner to the Navy Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (NJROTC), which is how it’s advertised. “The only difference between an NNDCC and NJROTC is how they are funded. They have the same curriculum, coursework, and post-high school opportunities,” Eschler said. “The big difference is that, while NJROTCs are co-funded by the Navy, NNDCCs are largely funded through the District.”
The Cadet Corps is a four-year program, but students don’t have to participate for the full four years.
Sticking with the program has it benefits, especially for those who are interested in military service. Cadets who complete three years of the program can enlist in the armed forces with a boost in starting rank. Some high-performing students may even be nominated to compete for slots at the U.S. Naval Academy.
But, while the training is along military lines, it’s not necessarily for military preparation. The stated goal of the program is to introduce students to the meaning of citizenship and build leadership skills, confidence, discipline, and a capacity for hard work. “These are the personal character traits that are in such high demand by colleges and employers, and they align with the Canyons District’s Portrait of a Scholar competencies that we want to nurture in all of our students,” said Canyons Superintendent Dr. Rick Robins.
The training also has a strong focus in history, and science and technology, including electronics, oceanography, astronomy and the physical sciences. In addition, participating students will gain opportunities to participate in community service.