Inside the UC High Marine Corps JROTC Program


Photo courtesy of Lily Nyguen

Senior Miranda Figueroa crosses a rope bridge constructed during JROTC building contest.

Miranda Figueroa, Staff Writer

You get to know people on a deeper level”

— Junior Shaynen Gold

   Teams in the MCJROTC program have upcoming competitions in late October and December in which they will travel to the Riverside and Los Angeles to test their physical fitness, discipline, and teamwork.

   According to The Marine Corps Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Program of Instruction, “The program is designed to instill in high school students a value of citizenship, service to the United States, personal responsibility and a sense of accomplishment. It prepares high school students for responsible leadership roles while making them aware of their rights, responsibilities, and privileges as American citizens” (

   “I have been teaching at University City High School for four years. I started teaching here in 2018 and MCJROTC has become a more positive program. The students have become more involved with the community and are becoming more of a tight knit family,” said Marine Instructor First Sergeant Michael Stout.

   “MCJROTC offers teams such as: academic teams, armed and unarmed drill teams, armed and unarmed exhibition teams, raiders teams and volunteer opportunities,” said Stout.

   “We have a Drill Team competition in late October and December, as well as Raiders Team competitions. All of these competitions are outside of the San Diego Unified School District, so we will be going up to the Riverside area, Sweetwater, and back up to the Los Angeles area,” said Stout.

   “To prepare for drill competitions, each team will be given a card with the drill movements they will be tested on. During practice, those movements are to be taught and practiced until they are as clean as possible. In addition, we make sure we all have the right uniforms and that our knowledge is up to date because it is a very important aspect of the competition,” said Senior Kayla Van.

   “Our upcoming drill competition that is in December in Sweetwater will consist of an Unarmed and Armed Drill Team, an Unarmed and Armed Exhibition Team, and color guard,” said Van.

   “Color guard consists of a four person team that does commands and movements with replica rifles, the U.S. flag and the U.S. Marine Corps flag. The two people on the ends hold the rifles and the two people in the middle hold the flags,” said Junior Shaynen Gold. 

   Gold explained that the Color Guard Team attends all of the home football games. They help open up the game by presenting the colors while the national anthem is sung. Although the color guard does do competitions, they usually perform for ceremonial purposes.

   “For armed and unarmed drill it consists of marching and stationary movements with the exception that, armed drill marches with rifles,” said Van.

   “Unarmed exhibition is a dance-like routine led by commands that include clapping against one’s body and hands, meanwhile making the movements sharp and precise. The way the winner is decided for such competitions is determined by whose routine was the most complicated and well executed,” said Senior Morganne Byrnes.

   “Armed exhibition is essentially the same thing as unarmed exhibition except rifles are included in the routine and they are spun in unison,” said Byrnes.

  Stout said, “The Raiders Team is a physical fitness team.”

   “Some training that we’ve done so far for the Raiders Team competition includes: physical exercise, learning how to build a rope bridge, and learning how to tie knots. Our training all depends on what the next competition will include,” said Gold.

   Byrnes explained how due to the fact that competitions are often a long drive away from home, it allows for team bonding and closeness between teammates. 

   “I’ve really enjoyed being on teams in the program, because it’s a tight knit community and you get to know people on a deeper level,” said Junior Shaynen Gold.

   Freshman Kimberly Ng explained that the MCJROTC program, apart from having great teams to be involved in, also serves as a great opportunity for volunteer hours. The program allows for cadets to be involved and help out with school events. 

   Van emphasized that having involvement with the school and the program looks great on college resumes and MCJROTC allows for those opportunities to be more accessible to students.

   “Some volunteer opportunities I’ve had as a freshman just starting school are helping out with school registration and helping pass out schedules on the first day of school,” said Ng.