“Master Gunns” revives Owen J. Roberts JROTC program
Digital First Media
SOUTH COVENTRY >> When Master Gunner Sergeant Andrew Worley’s wife asks him if he’s thinking about retiring, the 63-year-old Owen J. Roberts High School NJROTC instructor just shrugs.
“Well, I think I already am retired,” he responds.
In fact, the former top ranking Marine Corps officer retired more than a decade ago. But he’s been teaching ever since. And as a teacher he maintains a schedule befitting an active duty Marine, arriving at 6 a.m., and not leaving until 5 p.m. most days. And, oh yeah, his commute from his home outside of Hershey is an hour-and-a half each way. That’s a trip he makes many a weekend to lead his cadets in community service projects.
Worley’s dedication has paid off in spades. Since he took over the Owen J. Roberts’ floundering NJROTC program four years ago, enrollment has doubled from 61 students to 121.
The jovial former Marine who spent 33 years in active duty — six in the Navy and 27 as a Marine — is affectionately known as Master Gunns by his students. They are as devoted to him as he is to them.
When Worley, who taught for nine years at a Philadelphia high school, stepped into the OJR program it had lost all its government funding due to many years of low enrollment. The school board agreed to keep it on as an unfunded program known as a Navy National Defense Cadet Corps, rather than a Navy Junior Reserve Training Corps (NJROTC).
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