Working silently during the quiet before the storm Tuesday morning, Buena High School JROTC Sgt. 1st Class Instructor Fausto Valenzuela prepares packets containing uniform accessories for the 100 first year cadets who are joining this year’s program. Valenzuela proudly exclaims, “This will be my 10th year as an instructor for the program.”

Valenzuela mentions that this will be the highest attendance for the Buena JROTC class with 250 students. This year also marks the 39th anniversary for the JROTC program at Buena which began in 1980.

Over the nearly 40 years for the program, Buena has brought home countless state awards for their excellence in various categories. Last year the team received three state awards — one each for the drill team, color guard and for orienteering.

Cadet 1st Lt. Mitchell Dean is gearing up for his final year at Buena and is eager to star his fourth of JROTC. He says he is most proud of maintaining a staff designation for two consecutive years.

Jerry Dow will be serving as a long-term substitute because the instructors are short staffed to start the year. Dow says the school is looking for a permanent person to fill the position.

Editor's note: A previous version of this article stated 2019 is the 40th year of Buena's JROTC program; this is actually the 39th year. The program was established July 1, 1980.

Photojournalist-Has been with Wick Communications for over 24-years and with the Herald/Review for 23-years.

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