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Paul W. Bryant Marine Corps JROTC named Naval Honor School

Paul W. Bryant High School Marine Corps JROTC cadets stand in formation on the school’s football field while the colors are presented. Paul W. Bryant High School Marine Corps JROTC cadets stand in formation on the school’s football field while the colors are presented. Shane Dorrill

Although only in its fourth year, the Paul W. Bryant High School Marine Corps Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (MCJROTC) program is making a name for itself.

The program has been designated as a Naval Honor School by the Marine Corps Reserve Association. The honor means Bryant’s MCJROTC program ranks in the top 20 percent in the country, and is one of the top 10 programs in Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee, Florida and the Carolinas.

“The biggest benefit of this honor is that it allows our school to make nominations to all of the service academies,” said Maj. J. D. York, Senior Marine Instructor at Bryant High.

“In order to attend a school like West Point, or the Naval Academy, a typical student must be nominated by their U.S. Congressman, Senator, or the Vice President, and as each of these offices only have a few quotas per year, it’s extremely competitive. Being a Naval Honor School allows our students another avenue in which they can receive one of these nominations. We can nominate up to six cadets for the Naval Academy, and three each to the other service academies.”

Maj. J.D. York (left) and Mastet Sgt. Dustin Garig watch as Paul W. Bryant High School Marine Corps JROTC cadets drill on the school’s football field.

To achieve the honor, the Bryant cadets had to display an extreme amount of dedication and hard work. They achieved a “Full Mission Capable” score on their most recent Commanding General’s Inspection, which is a top-to-bottom inspection of the program that evaluates the quality and effectiveness of students, instructors, program administration, and activities.

“The real credit goes to our seniors from last year,” York said. “MCJROTC is a student led program, and they really took charge and led by example, taking the whole unit to a higher level of discipline and performance.”

From last year’s class, nine senior cadets received more than $175,000 in college scholarships, and seven senior cadets have already entered or have signed contracts to enter the Marine Corps and Navy. 

“It’s a shame they can’t be here to enjoy the honor,” York said, “but leaders know that they often plant trees that will provide fruit for someone else.”

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