-Kean’s JROTC Takes a Stand Against Gun Violence

                                    By H. Hedrington

                 Jason Carroll as a young runner

V.I. Mothers Against Gun Violence held their annual  Walk / Run Against Gun Violence on Sunday, May, 22, 2011, and Ivanna Eudora Kean High School was there to support them.

This organization started when the 18-year old University of The Virgin Islands sophomore, Jason Carroll, was shot to death in broad daylight nearly ten years ago. http://stthomassource.com/content/news/local-news/2002/10/11/man-who-killed-jason-carroll-gets-15-years

Jason’s mother, Celia Carroll, started this event, along with V.I. Mothers Against Gun Violence and The Jason Carroll Memorial Fund. Her mission is to save the lives of other young people since she couldn't save her son’s. This is a much needed organization in this community with the crime rate continuously rising.

The I.E.K.H.S. JROTC instructors found this event very necessary for their cadets to take part in. For the second year in a row, cadets from all four companies joined together as a battalion to exercise for a good cause.

This two-mile journey started at the Waterfront and paraded through French Town where we passed the Addelita Cancryn Junior High School and went back down the Waterfront to the finish line. www.vimothersagainstguns.org

Trophies were given to the first people to arrive at the finish line in every age group. The first 500 to complete the challenge received a medal and a t-shirt. There was also a category for the largest group, and the I.E.K.H.S. JROTC stole the gold once again. Last year I.E.K.H.S. surprised Charlotte Amalie High School’s JROTC by outnumbering them, and we did it again this year.

This event was amazing to see. Hundreds of people waited for the horn to blow to start the race. It was a very hot day and people came out of their homes and offices to support  the people running for the cause. As a participant, I got a sense of accomplishment, and finishing showed me  that I can do anything once I stay with it.

This event was mandatory for the JROTC cadets. Although not every cadet was present, I think it was an awesome turn out. I am sure lots of cadets will take part next year, I know I will. The mission of JROTC is to motivate young people to become better citizens, and I think this was a very appropriate way to do that. People also march to celebrate the lives of the loved ones lost.

The father of Jason Carroll is now a judge. I believe more people who have gone through something like this should be judges so that they can give justice to others who are suffering a similar loss.

Although marching doesn't bring back the victim, it shows the victim’s family support, it brings awareness to the community, and it shows the criminals that they are outnumbered.