Unlike any program in New York State, the disciplined students of I.S. 125 celebrated the competition of the 2-week summer training program for the Middle School Leadership Training Corp.
On Friday, August 28, parents and faculty gathered to witness the first graduation ceremony of the sixth grade students who participated in the semi-military academy.
Starting on Monday, August 17, participants would meet at I.S. 125, located 1111 Pugsley Avenue, for the Recruit Summer Program, Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. to learn some of the basic skills and commands used in the military.
“This is the first time in the Bronx, New York City, New York State and possibly the country that a public middle school has had a program like this. They are getting the full resources of a regimented academy,” said MALTC C.E.O. and founder, Lidio Aviles, a teacher at the school who gained experience serving as a Marine. “They have that regiment and discipline that will help them through middle school.”
Helping to combat the child obesity plaguing the Bronx, the students choosing to participate in the program will have extra gym each week, and will practice in military style.
Former I.S. 125 alumni enrolled in JROTC programs are volunteering to help assist with the new program, along with teacher Charles Loparrino, who served a tour in the Army, and parent volunteers.
“It’s been an exciting start, it is amazing to just see these kids’ energy and stamina,” said principal Hilda Byron. “These gentleman and women have volunteered their time to launch this program.”
According to Aviles, students are expected to maintain appropriate behavior and certain academic standards at home and in school. Parents will rate their children on three to five weekly chores and students will be subject to inspections to make sure their notes are organized and lockers are clean.
“This will help the students stay focused, on their way to better grades and more attentive to their duties,” said Aviles.
Students who work hard will be encouraged through promotions, having been promoted from recruits to cadets during the graduation.
“It benefits the students in so many ways, in school, with teamwork, and at home,” said Byron. “Also, there are so many things happening on the streets, and this gives them something to turn to to keep the negative things out of their lives.”
During the school year, students will participate in MALTC before and after school each day, from 8 a.m. to 8:40 a.m. and from 3:15 p.m. until 4:30 p.m.
“I learned that when they tell me to do something to never give up. Don’t ever say ‘can’t,’” said Julian Castro, 11. “I thought the program would be fun and it is. It’s hard work and sometime I am tired, but I am also excited about the things we will be doing. They are all nice and do a very good job of teaching us.”