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After long-term instructors leave, Detroit JROTC builds for the future

The Detroit Douglass JROTC program has had to start over mid year, replacing two long-term instructors with a new one.

Sgt. 1st Class Robert Vaillancourt joined at the end of April to lead the Douglass group. He replaces 1st Sgt. Laverne Rush and Sgt. 1st Class Terry Strauss, both who retired unexpectedly this winter.

This is Vaillancourt’s first time as head of a JROTC program. He recently retired from the United States Army after 24 years.

“I love to help the kids and feel I can be positive influence and rebuild the JROTC program here at Douglass Academy” said Vaillancourt.

Rush left in December, citing personal health issues. Strauss left in February because of Detroit Public School’s financial problems. Their departure left an eight-week gap in leadership.

“Not having a JROTC teacher was kind of boring and dull because we were limited to do most things we did or could do when we did have an JROTC teacher,” said Douglass student Michael Betty.

Douglass senior Joshua Johnson said the lack of a full-time instructor was “irritating, but minor setbacks come as bigger comebacks.”

“The program will continue to build and bring in great cadets who are willing to take the program to a serious new start even with a new instructor,” said Johnson.


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