A survey being conducted by the Brighton Area Schools will determine new high school course offerings for students in the coming years.

The survey was sent to families which have upper-grade-level students in district schools. The survey comes in response to an effort by Board Trustee John Conely to initiate a Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps program for high school students interested in a possible military career. A total of 29 high schools in Michigan have a junior ROTC program, including Howell (pictured), whose program is affiliated with the US Air Force. However, the survey is not merely for those interested in a JROTC program.

It is also for those who would be interested in starting a computer programming course and adding an international language class, particularly Mandarin Chinese. It's the most widely spoken language in the world, with about one billion people calling it their first language. In addition, as China moves up as a world power economically — with the second-largest economy in the world next to the US, more people in business are being required to learn the very complicated language.

The survey went out last week and Superintendent Greg Gray tells WHMI he hopes to have full results by the end of the year, and partial results by the next board meeting.

In regard to starting a JROTC program, Gray says the district needs to know if there is enough interest to sustain such an expensive program, which, according to JROTC rules, requires a minimum enrollment of 100 students. A couple on the board think that would be very difficult to attain, at a school with about 2,100 students. But if the interest is there, Gray says the program could begin as early as next fall.

Michigan Junior ROTC official Col. George Pettigrew, who gave a presentation at a meeting of the Board of Education a few months ago, said JROTC develops self-discipline, a strong work ethic, responsibility, camaraderie, organizational skills and patriotism. (TT)