FORT BLISS, Texas - Director, Capability Package, Col. Terrece Harris, System of Systems Engineering and Integration team at Fort Bliss, took time off from commanding the Army's integration team, to promote the importance of leadership to students in the Marine Corps Junior Reserve Officers' Training Corps Prep class at Coronado High School in El Paso, Texas on November 5, 2014.
U.S. Marine Corps Col. Terrece Harris, director, Capability Package, answers questions about life in the military from students in the Marine Corps Junior Reserve Officers' Training Corps Prep class at Coronado High School on November 5, 2014. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Vanessa Flores)
Harris' leadership skills were recently put to the test as he successfully led the Capability Package Team during Network Integration Evaluation 15.1, which had concluded just a few days prior to his school visit.
As Harris approached the school, he was greeted by Christopher Hernandez, student MJROTC battalion commander, who led him into a classroom filled with students standing at attention. With eager eyes upon him, Harris was in his natural environment of encouraging others to achieve their potential.
"Discipline is doing what is right even when you are not being watched," Harris said as he explained the Foundation Leadership Pillars he has developed over his career.
He also stressed the importance of discipline and decision making in everyday life. As the students absorbed the information that was relayed to them about real-life leadership, they engaged in the discussion and had relevant questions, most pertaining to their lives beyond high school and becoming a leader in the Armed Forces.
"It's lonely at the top, and when it's time for you to make decisions not everybody's going to be on board with it," said Harris. "But make those decisions. Be confident about them. Just know not everyone's going to agree with you all the time."
These students are no strangers to leadership, Hernandez and his fellow classmates led the initiative in bringing an MJROTC program to the school. In fact, the students were conducting Drill and Ceremonies at school functions and would run the flag up every morning on their own, even before this class began. As a prep program, Coronado is one of the few schools in the El Paso area without a fully funded government JROTC program.
"Myself and a friend of mine noticed that there was no JROTC program here, so we went straight to the principal to see what we could do," explained Hernandez. "She told us get 100 signatures of people interested and we will think about it. We were able to get 150 signatures."
Since the interest in bringing an MJROTC program into the school was apparent, administrators have been doing what they can to get a full program developed. This leadership class is in its first year and is the first step in getting a full-fledged program into the school.
Glen Adams, instructor of the leadership class said, "I'm a math teacher, but I'm also a retired Major, so the school asked me if I would come in and help the kids. I stay in the background and let them get in the front and learn about leadership. There's only 40 students, but it's structured like a battalion."
The students follow the Marine Corp JROTC Program of Instruction for the class. They are taught about things like citizenship, patriotism and career preparation. These topics go beyond the academic regimen, but they are important for the students to learn as they become members of society. The students have made it clear that the things they learn in class and from leaders like Harris will be applicable in their lives and take their learning seriously.
"In a leadership position I have to set the example" said Hernandez. "It is really important to make sure that I am doing good in school, being professional and staying on top of my game. That way the people I lead see me as the example and follow that."
By U.S. Army Vanessa Flores
Provided through DVIDS
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