The Multi-Layered 1stSgt Dreher

 The Blue and White met with 1stSgt Dreher, the Senior Marine Instructor at Apopka High School. We discussed his upbringing and what inspired him to teach JROTC. Additionally, we spoke about his hopes for his cadets and pride for the Marine Corps.

[I was] born and raised in Newark, New Jersey [and] left there at the age of 20 to join the Marine Corps. I am the youngest of four siblings. My siblings [have] spread around. One retired [from] the Navy in Virginia, one in Atlanta, Georgia, and my sister and mother are still in Newark, New Jersey. Upon graduating from high school, I went straight into college. Went to Virginia State University, 4-year University, for two years. I couldn’t afford to stay. I knew I didn’t want to stay in Newark, New Jersey, and just get a job and hang around, so I joined the military. Once I decided to join the military, it was cut and dry that it would be the Marine Corps. [I knew this] because everyone said that the Marine Corps boot camp was the hardest–and it still is–and because of [that], I would never make it through. So here I am; a retired Marine. 

Senior Marine Instructor 1stSgt Dreher (right) and Marine Instructor GySgt Washington (left)

What inspired me to be a marine instructor for high school students was the desire to mold young men before they go forward. Many will go into the military, so if I had an opportunity to connect with them prior to going into the military, then I felt that I would be presenting the military with a better product. 

My students [impress me when they] actually absorb the [curriculum and] knowledge that I give them. [For instance, when they] do well on the test. [Also, when my students are] talking about something, and they’re using the verbiage or the information [taught]. [Moments like these] make me feel really good and make me stand back and say: Wow they are really paying attention; they’re really learning.


I hope [my cadets] gain a better understanding of themselves [and] leadership from this program. [JROTC allows them to] develop better discipline, and become more respectful overall to people their age and older. [Additionally, my students will] learn about leadership and the leader within. We believe that leaders are made and not born, so everyone is capable of being a leader. I believe JROTC would identify the leader within,–provide [each] student with discipline, leadership, [and] character–and just make them a better person overall. 

Apopka high school students should join JROTC because JROTC is a very fun program. We have three extracurricular activity programs such as the rifle team, physical fitness team, and drill team. We are known throughout the area for our drill team. If you ever visit the JROTC room, you will see two ledges full of trophies–and they are recent trophies. We are three-time Regional Champions. We do a lot of things as a close-knit family. The more you get involved with the program, the more you can see that JROTC is a good opportunity for students looking for something more to do than just be high school students. 


[I would like to inform the school about] the Marine Corps. Everyone wants to talk about whose branch of the military is the best. I am not here to say the Marine Corps is better than any other branch of the military, just that we are a closer-knit family. Once a marine, always a marine. That’s why when you see a person walking down the street with Marine Corp paraphernalia, you say, ‘Hoorah,’ he’ll respond back, ‘Semper Fidelis,’ or vice versa. [Another representation of our brotherhood is how] no other branch of the military celebrates their birthday in the manner that the Marine Corps does, November 10th, 1775. Our comradery is unmatched. Our pride in being a Marine is unmatched. Many branches of the military can offer you all kinds of different [opportunities and incentives] as they are trying to recruit you to join: No one can offer the pride that the Marine Corps offers.