Manual High School JROTC students honor Veterans

Published: Nov. 11, 2021 at 6:30 PM CST

PEORIA (25 NEWS) - Manual High school’s JROTC students presented their color guard services at the veterans’ luncheon at Lutheran Hillside Village assisted living facility. Students say they wanted to acknowledge local veterans.

“We just want to recognize them, and our Sergeant is a veteran himself, he served in the military. We just want to show them we appreciate them and show them how much we care” says Victoria Hernandez.

She says the program inspired her to pursue a career in the army following high school graduation.

“I want to be a part of the military. I want to go to combat and war and do all those things,” said Hernandez.

The army instructor, Sgt. Christopher Oertwig, says the program gives students the opportunity to learn structure and grow.

“This is our opportunity to bring a diverse group together and basically just mold each other in being successful” says Sgt. Oertwig.

He has a 21-year army background and has been helping students navigate life after high school since 2008. A few of the JROTC students say the program has helped them gain confidence and consider college.

“When I first got to high school, I didn’t talk to anyone I was a very quiet student. I didn’t come out of my shell. The I met Sergeant Oertwig, and halfway through the school year I broke out of my shell. I talk to everyone now. I state my opinion and know that whatever I have to say is just as important as anyone else” said Manual High School senior Victoria Hernandez.

Manual High School accepts boundary waivers for students attending neighboring schools who would like to participate in the JROTC program.

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