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Posted: April 19, 2009 12:01 a.m.

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Social Circle Middle School students exposed to JROTC

By Michelle Kim/

Marching together: More than 80 Social Circle eighth graders gathered at the Social Circle Middle and High School Activity Center Friday to get a taste of military discipline.

Students with the high school’s JROTC program worked with groups of middle school students, going through the basics of saluting, turning, and marching. At the end, students were tested on what they had learned, and the group of girls ended up besting two groups of boys.

Shannon Alligood, 14, one of the last students left standing, said she came because she was trying to decide between signing up for JROTC or healthcare as an elective. "It was pretty cool," she said of the experience. "It helped me to listen more."

JROTC head Maj. Mark Robinson said they wanted to expose middle school students to the JROTC to dispel misconceptions the kids might have about the program.

"The myth is that if they’re in the JROTC, they’re required to go in the military. Of course, it’s not that," he said. "It’s to give them life exposure. Our mission is to motivate young people to become productive citizens."

Robinson, who retired from active duty Army in 2003, has been teaching the JROTC program in Social Circle for about two years. Previously, he had been teaching in New Orleans, before Hurricane Katrina drove him out to Georgia.

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