At the Hamilton County School Board meeting on Thursday, COL Tom McConnell, USA (Ret), director of Army Instruction for Hamilton County Schools, and Stacy Kehoe, vice president/secretary, and director of Youth Programs for the Greater Chattanooga Navy League Council, presented LT CDR Dirk Ames, USCG (Ret) the “Most Improved Unit in Region 9” award.
LT CDR Ames is the Senior Naval Science Instructor for Howard High School’s NJROTC program. “Area 9” is a six-state region covering Tennessee to New Mexico. LT CDR Ames has taken this NJROTC unit to a new dimension in over 24 years.
Their participation and accomplishments are unprecedented, said officials. They have eight academic, orientation, and training visitation trips; leadership training summer camp; 10 academic and athletic scholarships; a first-time Girls State scholarship; fielded competitive teams in Drill, Color Guard, Marksmanship, and a first-time started Raider Team and Robotics’ Team (Robo Rave competition from the Sea Perch Program).
Also joining LT CDR Ames, COL McConnell, and Ms. Kehoe were Assistant Principal Ronald Davis from Howard High School and Superintendent Johnson.
LT CDR Ames said in an email, “Our current plan is to continue working toward strengthening our program and increasing both participation and numbers. My short term goal is to stabilize unit enrollment and hire a third instructor. This would bring our program on par with Hamilton County Department of Education Army units.”
Currently, MMC Mike Murphy, USN (Ret) is the Naval Science Instructor with Howard High School’s NJROTC program.