Motivational posters line the walls of the staircase leading to George Washington Community High School’s JROTC classroom. These same posters are what George Washington graduate Douglas Sprowl says inspired him daily while in high school.

“Leadership, loyalty, personal courage…seeing those values drove me to pursue them,” says Sprowl.

Sprowl is now a senior and a Cadet Captain at the United States Military Academy at West Point.

Sprowl had no background in the military when he decided he wanted to apply to West Point as a junior in high school. So to learn more, he joined JROTC as a senior. His instructors placed him in a position where he’d have to learn the basics quickly and that has stayed with him ever since.

“JROTC gave me a strong foundation and it all started with the basics,” says Sprowl. “Ranks, values, uniform inspections, how leadership works, what the medals mean, I learned all of that at George Washington.”

Sprowl oversees a student organization now and he tells his peers to “always refer back to the basics.”

Arsenal Technical High School graduate Ian Gore had a similar albeit different JROTC experience. Joining as a freshman he credits his instructors in the program for serving as mentors as he applied to all three military academies. He got into two of them.

Gore says deciding on which academy to go to was one of the toughest decisions he had to make, especially as a high school student. He says his instructors played a big role, helping with the application, supplying recommendations and finally helping him choose West Point.

While at West Point, Gore served on the Honor Committee, an organization that serves to uphold West Point’s Honor Code. Here, Gore became interested in the law. He went on to serve in the army for five years as a Military Intelligence Officer before attending Harvard University Law School. He now works as a lawyer for a firm in New York City.

His advice to JROTC students is to “seek out mentors.” Gore still keeps in touch with his former instructors to this day. He also wants to encourage students to not limit themselves on their goals.

“Obstacles may get in the way, and it may be frustrating, but it just takes a little perseverance,” says Gore.

Sprowl agrees, “JROTC provides challenges, but it also allows you to grow.”

“If you have any interest in JROTC, give it a try,” says Gore. “It teaches you to be a better student, better person, and a leader among your classmates.”

Gore and Sprowl are just two examples of exemplary IPS graduates that have gone from JROTC to the military to extraordinary careers. We applaud them for their service to our country and are proud to call them part of the IPS family.