Dreams about serving on the high seas will soon begin with a Naval unit at Fort Mill’s Catawba Ridge

man standing and facing boats on water

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FORT MILL – Catawba Ridge High School has yet to serve its first student, but already plans are underway to give tomorrow’s U.S. Naval leaders there a head start.

The Fort Mill School District announced the school will offer students the opportunity to participate in the Navy Defense Cadet Corps. The program “is structured to provide the same curriculum, training and competition opportunities to students as Junior Reserve Officers Training Crops programs offer,” according to a news release from the district. The district said there’s a waiting list for JROTC programs and one has to end elsewhere before another school can add a unit.

Fort Mill and Nation Ford high schools are home to award-winning U.S. Marine Corps Jr. ROTC programs. Catawba Ridge, scheduled to open in August, is the district’s third high school. The Catawba Ridge NNDCC program will begin next school year (2019-’20), the district said.

Like other JRROTC programs, NNDC will give students an early military-oriented experience with an emphasis on teamwork, camaraderie, service, drill instruction and more. Often, it’s a launching pad for students who aspire to go on to one of the service academies after high school and enter the U.S. military as a junior commissioned officer.

“We are proud to be partnering with the Navy to offer this program to our students,” said Dee Christopher, the former Fort Mill High principal who will be the first to hold that title at Catawba Ridge.

“This is a great opportunity for students at Catawba Ridge to have access to the JROTC curriculum,” district Superintendent Chuck Epps said.

“We are looking forward to welcoming our first Navy program to the district.”


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