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County Road 11: JROTC Program at Northeast Lauderdale building future leaders

Instructor Kent Malone is a U.S. military veteran and loves to see his cadets enter the service
Published: Oct. 15, 2020 at 2:05 PM CDT
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MERIDIAN, Miss. (WTOK) -

Northeast Lauderdale is the only high school in the Lauderdale County School District that offers the Junior R-O-T-C program. It gives students a chance to help better prepare for college or perhaps a military career.

This week on County Road 11, we meet the Meridian native who guides the highly respected program at Northeast Lauderdale.

After serving 25 years in the U.S. Navy, Kent Malone felt like he had still had a calling. And that was to lead young people. And he’s been doing that for the past 7 years now as the leader of the Junior ROTC program at Northeast Lauderdale

“The Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps teaches citizenship to young men and women," says Malone, the Cheif Petty Officer and Naval Science Instructor at Northeast Lauderdale. "It also teaches accountability and responsibility for the life. It teaches the constitution which is the law of the land and we also teach charity to our fellow man.”

Malone currently oversees 84 cadets in the program at Northeast who take part in a number of challenges. In fact, members of the rifle team, academic team, Seafirst team and precision and drill team get a chance to compete with other students from around the state, region and country. More importantly, it’s teachers discipline and helps prepare them for college.

“You have to maintain a certain amount of self discipline," says Eli Hurst, a senior at Northeast and Commanding Officer of the JROTC. "Not only that but it kind of gives you a family environment that on your darkest days you can come in to and expect to have open arms despite the challenges of day to day life.”

“It’s one of the coolest things I’ve ever done in my life,” says Brendan Stevens, a Northeast junior and Executive Officer. “It really helps towards a lot of things and going towards college as well. It helps in the leadership role with things. Just a little bit of everything.”

Ask Chief Petty Officer what makes him most proud, and he’ll probably say when one of his cadets enrolls in a military school. "With so much turmoil in the world today, united we stand, divided we will fall. I support any decision that a young man or young lady makes that wants to serve this country. I love that. I’m always going to appreciate that.

Kent Malone. Teacher, officer and veteran. And continuing to help shape the lives of some of our future leaders.

Copyright 2020 WTOK. All rights reserved.

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