Haverhill High Junior ROTC Wins High Praise; Selected as Naval Honor School Third Year in a Row

The Haverhill School Committee and local teachers haven’t found much in common during contract negotiations, but appear to agree on the good examples being set by junior members of the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps.

The Haverhill School Committee gave high praise and thanks to leaders and members of the Junior ROTC at last Thursday’s meeting. School Superintendent Margaret Marotta called the students involved in the organization outstanding.

“They’ve been doing a fabulous job for many years supporting us in Haverhill, working in the community, community service and winning awards all over the place,” she said.

Junior ROTC members were recently selected as a Naval Honor School for the third year in a row—one of only 11 schools in the northeast to earn the honor. That designation puts them in the top 20% of Junior ROTC programs in the country.

The group is headed by retired U.S. Marine Corps First Sgt. David Grinstead, who expanded on the student’s success.

“We had over 5,000 hours of community service last year. We had 13 students who graduated last year and a lot of them have already graduated boot camp. We had over $485,000 in scholarship money to our seniors last year. We compete everywhere. We just had a competition this weekend against 12 other teams. Our A-team won first place and our B-team won fourth place,” he said.

The sergeant pointed out although the organization is military based, becoming a member does not obligate one to enter the military.

Also addressing the committee, Executive Officer and Cadet Capt. Deyanarah Gutierez, who is also Haverhill High School’s senior class president. She said the program simply changed her life.

“I don’t know what or who I would be if it wasn’t for this program. I was brought outside of my comfort zone. I found myself wanting to work harder. I have met people that will always stick by me. I don’t think I’d be where I am if it wasn’t for the challenges, the people, the connections, the family that we aim to build in our program and I am who I am because of them,” she said.

The Committee praised Grinstead and all of the cadets for their efforts in and out of school.

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