For Oak Hills High School JROTC instructor Wayne Howard, even discussing a program social event provides an opportunity to pass along words of wisdom.


"I'm going to teach you what fork to use, what knife to use," Howard said about his program's military ball on March 12 at the Hilton Garden Inn in Victorville.


In fact, Howard's students will be taught all manner of military etiquette, from using the proper utensils to wearing formal attire and how to address guests and superiors.


"I'll teach you all the wrong ways and the right ways to do it," he said. "And you'll be taught to toast."


And the ball itself will be an opportunity for teaching and grading the etiquette element of Howard's class.


"You don't want to miss the military ball or your grade goes down."


With the ball costing each cadet $40 (and $70 per guest) Howard even coached the students on how to pay for the event. If money is tight, students still have enough time remaining to bring in $5 a week until their ball debts are paid in full. And he will be contacting OHHS teachers and local businesses with information on military ball scholarships to assist students, Howard added.


"You're expected to be there. Finances is not a valid excuse."


But not every minute of the formal event will be for learning. With a multi-course dinner and hours of dancing and mingling, JROTC cadets and their guests are expected to have a thoroughly enjoyable evening.


"The military ball is going to be one of the most fun events," Howard said.