De Anza High Air Force JROTC honored as one of world’s best

The De Anza High Air Force Junior ROTC program is flying high.

On Tuesday last week, about 70 cadets in the program were honored for being part of a Distinguished Unit with Merit. The De Anza High program was “just 44 out of 870 AFJROTC units worldwide” to receive that designation, according to a report by the West Contra Costa Unified School District (WCCUSD).

It’s a remarkable feat on its own — and even more so given the relatively new De Anza High program faced a number of obstacles when it launched in the 2014-15 school year, from anti-military activists who opposed its very existence to a rocky start.

But the program gained steam in the following two years, with 120 students participating since its inception. In February this year, the program passed its first inspection. 

And now, it is one of the world’s best.

“This doesn’t change much because we do this every day,” De Anza High senior Yechan Lee said. “I know, like the rest of my classmates, that we are a part of something bigger. We just want to be role models for the students coming behind us and for our community.”

Senior Aerospace Instructor Major Mark Sideno said it’s a big honor to deserving students who put in the time and dedication, WCCUSD said.

According to the school district, the program’s students focus on learning in areas of aerospace science, leadership, health and wellness for life. The cadets “have served over 2,000 community service hours on everything from drug abuse prevention to volunteering at local events and with community organizations,” WCCUSD said.

For more information, visit De Anza’s AFJROTC website.