The gymnasium of the Panther Valley High School was recently transformed from a place of exercise to a place of formal tradition, as the Panther Battalion JROTC held its annual Military Ball.

"The decorations were fantastic and beautiful," said cadet Chelsea Digiglio.

The cadets socialized in the lobby of the high school, snacking on cheese, crackers, fruits, vegetables and a chocolate fountain, as they mingled, waiting for the receiving line to begin.

The week before the Military Ball, all first-year cadets were taught proper manners and etiquette which, includes eating properly, discussion topics and proper dancing.

Cadets were also schooled in the art of going through a receiving line, which introduces them to distinguished guests and their dates.

After the receiving line the evening continued with the traditional components of a military ball: presenting the colors, rendering the ceremonial toasts, punch bowl and saber arch.

The cadets stood at attention, wearing either military uniforms or ball gowns, absorbing the pomp and regality of the evening.

Panther Valley's cafeteria's catering company provided the meal that included stuffed shells, chicken cordon bleu, mashed potatoes, green beans and a fresh salad.

"I love the mashed potatoes!" said Cadet Gabriele Booker.

The guest speaker, Steven Bretzik, a former cadet battalion commander 1998, spoke about his time as a cadet. He discussed how much it helped him in life and how much he enjoyed being a part of such an amazing group of people.

He told the cadets that they are forming themselves into great people just by being in JROTC, and spoke of how life's lessons are all related to the course. Battalion Commander, C/LTC Courtney Lazar then presented Bretzik with a plaque in recognition of his attending the event.

The saber arch followed acknowledging high ranking cadets. Honor guard members raised their swords in a slow salute to acknowledge both the JROTC cadet and their guest in front of all the other cadets.

The night concluded with dancing, with music provided by DJ Thad Hager, also a former cadet. Trophies for best dance couple, limbo king and queen, most elegant, and most distinguished were awarded.

The night concluded at 11 p.m. and the cadets transformed the gym back to its original purpose.

"Hopefully they'll remember to 'follow your dreams'," said C/LTC Lazar, as the cadets stayed for cleanup and then were dismissed.