After several years of community requests Mary Persons High school finally has a JROTC unit.
Shakaya Whatley helps lead her platoon in Friday morning physical training.
Shes Platoon Sergeant for her school's brand new Army JROTC program.
"I call all of the commands and lead and I do inspections when it's time for inspections," Whatley said.
To earn that leadership role, she's had to grow up a little.
"I've changed a lot. I've got self discipline now last year. I didn't have as much as I do now since I've been in JROTC," Whatley said.
Retired Lieutenant Colonel Titus Brown oversees the first-year program.
He says the main goal is to motivate youth to be better citizens through discipline and leadership opportunities.
"We eventually are going to put the kids more into leadership positions to where it's more them talking," Brown said.
During their time in JROTC, cadets not only take part in physical training, but they also wear uniforms, and even compete in rifle competitions.
Whatley hopes her time here will give her a leg up for her future, hopefully as a military police officer.
"I want it to prepare me for basic training so I'll know what to expect when I go, and I need structure, so this class gives me structure," Whatley said.
Brown says that's not the only option for these cadets. JROTC prepares for anything.
"After graduation, these children, these cadets have opportunities. There are no doors that are closed to them," Brown said.
JROTC Central Command will fully fund the program starting in October.