The JROTC operates within a structured hierarchy and each position has a job and a rank assigned to it. Cadets have the opportunity to move up in the rank structure by performing the tasks assigned to them.
To become an officer, cadets have to attend Leadership School for a week in the summer at Concord University in Athens, W.Va.
Here cadets have the opportunity to get a true military experience. They wake up at 5 a.m. for room inspection, and attend leadership and practical teambuilding exercises, in addition to participating in activities such as water survival.
Cadet Cmdr. Kenneth Adkins is one of few cadets with plans to pursue a military career, and he thinks that JROTC has given him a solid foundation that he can build upon while serving in the military.
"I believe it's taught me the discipline you would need to succeed in the military," Adkins explained. "We cover a great deal of drill and ceremony, and we have a structure, a chain of command, and you don't skip it, just like in the military."
The members of the program think of themselves as a family who work through practical problems and personal issues together.
Staff Sgt. Elizabeth White remembers when she was struggling with the death of her sister and Pauley and Park were there to help her get through it.
"We believe that in the teaching profession you are a role model before you are a teacher," Park said. Both he and Pauley consider it a duty and a privilege to be mentors to their students.
Park also noted that the JROTC appeals to a wide range of individuals.
"We've got a wide gamut of students; demographically they are a good representation of the school," he said.
This year, the program includes students who are also active in show choir, football, girl's basketball and band.
Brothers Chase and Brody Bowling are home schooled, and they come to the school just to participate in the program.
In the spring of 2012, Nitro's program was the only program in West Virginia to receive the Air Force Junior ROTC National Distinguished Unit Award with Merit, and it was only one of 100 units out of 882 eligible units worldwide.
This award recognizes units that have performed above and beyond normal expectations, and that have distinguished themselves through exemplary service to both their school and community.
"Chief and I are really proud of what they've done and how far they've come along," Park said, adding that their dedication and commitment played an integral part in receiving this award for the second year in a row.
Park and Pauley were also recognized for their efforts. Each received the National Outstanding AFJORTC Instructor award in 2011.
"Their leadership skills, and the fact that they're gentlemen makes for an exemplary program," Principal Diane Smith said.