Preserving Our History, Shaping the Future: A Message from St. John's President

Dear St. John’s Community,
At St. John’s, we are committed to preparing students to become leaders in the classroom and in their communities. Today I share with you a new path for the Cadet Corps, our flagship program, which has forged young men and women into leaders for more than a century. 
As we prepared to celebrate the Cadet Corps Centennial in 2015, we looked to the past and the future to perform an in-depth review of the program and the impact it is making on today’s students. During that analysis, it became evident that the strict guidelines and dated curriculum mandated by the government-run program have not kept pace with the needs of our students. Although overall school enrollment has reached a record high, enrollment in the Cadet Corps program has declined. As we continue to execute our strategic plan for St. John’s, it is critical that we modernize this program to enhance its relevance and impact on our students.
That is why, after a three-year process of comprehensive research and consultation with students, faculty, alumni and the SJC Board of Trustees, we have decided to separate from the federal JROTC program and return to the private Cadet Corps model used by St. John’s up until the late 1970s. While the overall military structure of the Corps will not change, separating from the government program will give us control over the curriculum and enhance our ability to develop leaders consistent with our mission and values.
The goals of St. John’s new Cadet Corps Leadership Program are as follows:
  1. Design a leadership program with a Lasallian tradition: Success in the 21st century is anchored in leadership. Therefore, the new program will be centered on leadership that is infused with our Catholic, Lasallian values.
  2. Enhance the curriculum by leveraging experiential learning: Leadership is best learned through practical application. Without strict external regulations, we will modernize the curriculum and design a program that leverages more “hands-on” learning opportunities for our students. 
  3. Ensure the program is integrated and relevant: We will seamlessly integrate the Corps and the new program’s curriculum into the broader St. John’s model, aligning the Corps with our roots. Further, by adding flexibility to the structure, more students will have the opportunity to participate. 
As we return to the original St. John’s Cadet Corps model, we join several other institutions, such as Culver Academies, Benedictine College Preparatory School, Fork Union Military Academy, Hargrave Military Academy and Saint Thomas Academy, who privatized their programs within the last decade.
We are grateful to CSM John McConnell and his team for all of their hard work and dedication to our students. Although we have decided to privatize our Cadet Corps, the impact of the many Army instructors we have partnered with over the years will not be forgotten by the St. John’s community.
St. John Baptist de La Salle challenged his Brothers to “respond to the needs of students.” In 2011, St. John’s fully integrated iPad technology into the curriculum. In 2014, we launched the Entrepreneurial Center for Innovation and Social Impact. In 2019, we will respond to the needs of our students by designing a 21st century leadership curriculum that will prepare values-centered leaders.
By continuing to transform this program, we honor the history of the Cadet Corps and secure St. John’s legacy of forging strong leaders in the Lasallian tradition.  
Jeffrey Mancabelli