GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Discipline is Maj. Robert Ware’s most treasured characteristic. 

“We do a lot of things to get the kids outside of their comfort zone,” said Ware.

His goal is to prepare his kids for their future.

“I want to get them ready for life after high school,” said Ware.

Wear guides his students through the Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps, or JROTC. 

He is the senior army instructor for the program at Union High School, one of very few in West Michigan.

“We teach a wide variety of things that make them more well-rounded, not just math or English, but leadership, first aid, career preparedness, things like that,” said Ware.

Physical fitness is a highlight. Wear said the students compete regionally in a series of labor-intensive exercises and participate in a drill team. He is no stranger to either.

“I walked the halls. I graduated from Union in 1979 as an ROTC cadet,” said Ware. “It helped me focus myself, and I said,’ you know, I am going to go in the army.’ I knew that at the age of 16.”

Ware spent 22 years in the army. He is now in his 17th year at Union High School. Students, like the ones he teaches, keep him coming back.

“It is not my job to put kids in the military,” said Ware. “My job is to get them to graduate.”

It is his desire to see them grow.