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The student-run news site of H. B. Plant High School

PHS News

The student-run news site of H. B. Plant High School

PHS News

The Best All Around – Sage Stark- and his JROTC Involvement

Luka Vaicekauskas
Sage Stark (right), Sean Murphy (in the middle), and Nicolas Hedge (left) stand smiling in front of a KC-130 located at the MacDill Air Force Base. Sage Stark has been part of the JROTC program for all his four years in high school and plays a vital role in the program.

Just recently winning the senior superlative of “Best All Around,” Sage Stark has been a central persona to all of those surrounding him. From being a great friend, to a committed Duke “Blue Devil,” Stark has always pursued Plant’s ideology- Strength Through Unity. 

As a four year member of the JROT program at Plant, he is currently serving as one of the senior cadets overlooking the program.  

“As seniors, we are the one’s that are running the show. Of course, the Sargents have the final say, but JROTC is really run by the cadet. Seniors take part in a lot of the planning and managing the underclassmen. A big part of it as well, is teaching the younger cadets how to lead and take our place when we graduate. It is really inspirational to play such big role in the growth of the underclassmen and it has been rather rewarding,” Stark said. 

While the JROTC curriculum is rather unknown to many, Stark highlights the many life and professional lessons he was enriched by.  

“The curriculum is a three-prong-attack. It focuses on academics which is a wide range; we learned everything from airspace science & flight to a lot of life skills. With the JROC curriculum, we have learned skills surrounding budgeting, economics, diplomacy and politics. At JROTC we have general ceremonies, which is us marching, working together as a team, and as well as the physical training part. At JROCT we also include our work at the football games as part of our Common Core State Standards (CCSS) curriculum, which is again run by the student cadets which is their way of applying what they have learned in the classroom,” Stark said.  

When asked what the JROTC program has taught Stark, he took a brief pause, and said,  

“It is impossible to accentuate in just a couple of sentences its drastic effect on me.” 

But Stark did highlight one key lesson- empathy. 

“As a senior cadet, I have learned to be more empathetic to people’s situations in the past couple of years. We often may overlook people’s learning disabilities, or something going on at home, but as I progressed into the program, I’ve been responsible for other cadets that made more aware of that, making more empathetic and just simply a better person. I’ve learned that some hardships are other people’s realities and we should help to improve others and help each other out. But I could go for hours in regards to all the valuable lessons JROTC has taught,” Stark said. 

While considering himself a “shy guy,” Stark does confess about his gained confidence skills, and the many times he had to step-up for himself. He knowledges that the JROTC program is interdisciplinary and rigorous, but beyond rewarding.  

“To someone considering joining the JROTC program at Plant, I would advise to join with an open mind. The end goal of the program is doing their best to teach you to lead, so being ready to learn is beyond important. A lot of people glorify JROTC2 down to the science, and while it can be at the end of the day you are working with people, cooperating, and making beyond valuable connections. And especially I would advise to be forgiving to the junior and senior cadets- we are still learning too but do learn from us and our instructors- we are all doing our best to best guide you through it all,” Stark said 

To end, Stark said, 

“Don’t expect perfection but do expect excellence.” 

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