Sergeant makes a call for volunteers while extolling Irvington JROTC

Photo by Chris Sykes
The members of the ‘Men of Irvington,’ who answered retired Sgt. 1FC Harvey Craig and Irvington High School Principal Mary Michailidis’ call to action to come out on the first day of school of the 2018-2019 school year to greet students returning from the summer break, stand together on the school’s steps.

IRVINGTON, NJ — The Irvington High School Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps ended the last school year on a high note and now retired U.S. Army Sgt. 1st Class Harvey Craig planned to kick off the 2018-2019 school right by asking local men to greet high school students on their first day.

“JROTC graduated 41 cadets,” said Craig on Tuesday, June 26. “I have six that will be serving in the Army, Marines and Air Force. We have two that received the Army ROTC Scholarship at the University of Pittsburgh, valued at $133,000, and one Navy ROTC Scholarship with Marine Corps Option, valued at $180,000.”

On Thursday, Aug. 23, Craig sent out an email blast stating that he, Irvington Superintendent Neely Hackett and IHS Principal Mary Michailidis were looking for a few good Irvington men to volunteer their time to greet students arriving for their first day of school, Wednesday, Sept. 5.

“Good people, Irvington High School is looking for you to represent on our first day of school,” said Craig on Thursday, Aug. 23, in an email blast.

“The first day of school is a special day of new beginnings, fostering relationships and exploring the endless possibilities of lifelong learners,” said Michailidis in undated memorandum. “On Wednesday, Sept. 5, Irvington High School continues our commitment to the next generation of scholarly leaders, as they advance one step closer to adulthood. Throughout their journey, it is important to for us to remind them of their value to the community and that they will always have our support.”

With that in mind, Michailidis issued a call to action for all “men of Irvington.”

“We are calling for any and all men who have a connection with Irvington and an affinity for our children to stand proud and be represented as the role models you are,” Michailidis said. “During our first day of school, we ask the ‘men of Irvington’ to rise in solidarity to meet, greet and impart words of wisdom, as well as encouragement, upon a population primed to become the future pillars of society. We graciously welcome the support of professionals to organizations alike, as you come dressed to impress.”

Michailidis asked men interested in supporting children and education to arrive early to school to “fellowship and network.”

According to Craig and Major Munro, the senior Army instructor for the IHS JROTC Crusader Battalion, Irvington currently has the largest JROTC program in New Jersey and it’s only getting bigger.

“We’re the oldest program in the state of New Jersey, along with Lakewood; Lakewood High School and Irvington High School JROTC program started in 1984,” said Craig on Thursday, June 23, 2016, at the IHS commencement ceremony, where 58 of his cadets graduated and he reiterated again on Tuesday, June 26. “A lot of our young men and women are serving in the National Guard. A lot of them will be going this year. We’ve got some of them leaving the beginning of July, all the way up until September.”