What is it with these kids today?

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By LPR Staff

I know I”m a bit too young to ask myself that question, but every time I see a teenager walking around the Square with a railroad spike through his lip and his girlfriend on a chain… I have to admit – I ask.
What bothers me is that I”ve yet to come up with a remotely suitable answer.
It”s hard to understand what makes someone want to swim

so hard against the mainstream. I”m all about kids having an individual voice – I think that”s a great thing. I think that sometimes teenagers should be a little more careful about what the voices they raise are saying.
Then, of course, every time I start thinking that and thinking that the latest generation of teenagers was bred with some fundamental flaw that will bring Western society to its collective knees, I run into a group of kids that changes my mind. And truth told, there are plenty of groups, and plenty of individuals, that prove to me that society is not, in fact, doomed. On the whole, I think Lockhart should be proud of the kind of kids we are raising.
Since I came back to Lockhart, one group of students, perhaps above and beyond all others, has challenged my thoughts about teenagers at every turn – the Air Force Junior ROTC.
This group of dedicated kids is just mind-blowing. They turn out, in some form, for every local event, parade or presentation, and at more than a handful of meetings and conferences.
And they work. These kids work hard.
A girlfriend of mine has a son in the program, and when he”s not performing or practicing, he”s usually stepping out new drills in his head. When he isn”t doing that, he is with the ROTC group, doing a fundraiser or volunteer work of some kind.
So what is it with these kids?
I”m not sure if the ROTC program is special because of the students who participate, or if the students are special because they participate in the program. I do know, from others I”ve met through the years that took part in an ROTC program, that military-style drilling – or military-style anything, for that matter – is only the smallest part of what the program is about. The ROTC program is about teaching the kids responsibility, leadership, problem solving and camaraderie. It is about giving them skills that they can use for the rest of their lives.
It”s not really about the military at all. In fact, only a few ROTC students have ended up in the military, according to MSgt. Silva, one of the staff advisors. The funding just happens to come from the government.
I was shaken to discover last month that if LHS not enroll more students in the ROTC program, the government is going to yank the funding and end the program. That cannot be allowed to happen. The kids need the program.
What”s more, the community needs it.
For instance, last autumn, a family”s home burned to the ground and they lost almost everything. The ROTC took it upon themselves to raise money to donate to the family. In a few short weeks, they came up with more than $200, which they presented to the family during a special performance at Plum Creek Elementary.
During the holidays, they organized a stuffed toy drive for EMS and the Lockhart Fire Department. The cadets came up with so many animals that EMS and the Lockhart Fire Department could not store them all, so they took the balance down to Luling EMS and Luling Fire.
They are instrumental in putting together the Veterans” Day and Memorial Day celebrations for the entire community. Every project they adopt, these kids go after full steam. And according to their teachers, every project they adopt is suggested, planned and executed by the kids.
The LISD Board of Trustees will be meeting next Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. at the Conference Center at Lockhart High School, and the status of the ROTC program should be discussed at that time. As a community, we need to make the board understand that they need to find a way to increase enrollment numbers and keep this program in LHS.
The kids need it. The community needs it.
And if we lose it, we”ll never get it back.

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