Dimond HS JROTC Attends 74th D-Day Anniversary
Story by: Major Sidney Topf | July 18th, 2018
Understanding that cadet enrollment is a challenge for almost all, Major IN (Ret) Sidney Topf thought that he needed to have a long range plan to increase enrollment. His program traditionally does well recruiting however retention is the challenge. Based on this challenge he proposed some ideas to help boost retention to his fellow Instructors.
He was fortunate to participate in the 71st D-Day anniversary while still on active duty as the BDE XO for 4-25 IBCT (Airborne) while on assignment to conduct the KFOR mission in Kosovo. While participating in the event he noticed a group of JROTC Cadets and thought about what a great opportunity it was for them and if he was ever in that position then he would try to do the same thing. About a year later he was hired as the Senior Army Instructor for Dimond HS. He did some research and proposed the idea to the Principal, who supported the idea. He then proposed the idea to the Cadets in order to get a level of interest from them. The goal was to bring ten Cadets which would allow for group rate airfare.
Upon getting interest from individual Cadets, he sent emails to interested parents and set up IPRs for the parents to provide information about what the goal and estimated cost of the trip would be. After many IPRs and fund raising events they were at Ted Stevens International for what turned out to be the first flight for many of the Cadets as well as their first trip out of the state (and country).
While in Normandy they participated in three ceremonies: two wreath laying and one color guard event. The Cadets were exposed to many first time and many life time experiences that they will carry with them to next school year (as recruiting and retention). As a requirement to participate the Cadets must agree to continue with JROTC for at least one more semester. While it is still too early to tell if the trip worked to retain or recruit additional Cadets but the feedback from parents and Cadets has been tremendous; not to mention the positive feedback from people that have contributed with donations.
Major Topf has provided videos of the trip: