The Junior Reserved Officers Training Program
will continue at Panther Valley High School.
The school board has hired Maj. Gerald New as a full-time, permanent Senior Army Instructor at the high school, effective Aug. 1, at a salary based on the U.S. Army guidelines.
Superintendent Rosemary Porembo said New has served in the Army for 20 years and is presently stationed in the state of Washington.
A native of Chambersburg, New told school officials the opening at Panther Valley allows him to return to his home state.
Panther Valley High School's JROTC program is one of 28 in Pennsylvania high schools, including the Pine Grove Area School District.
As of 2012, 73 students, or about 20 percent of the high school enrollment, had joined Panther Valley's JROTC.
The program was put in limbo after the former JROTC instructor, Maj. Kenneth Markovich, was fired by the school board in June 2013.
The board said at the time it was terminating Markovich's contract with the school district in light of a U.S. Army decision on April 25, 2013, to withdraw his certification to serve as instructor.
Assistant JROTC instructor Joseph Jordan stepped in and continued to lead the program in the interim.
JROTC students have been busy not only at school functions but have become very visible in the community through their participation in parades and active role in funerals and other military-related events.
On a related note, school board member Roy "Mickey" Angst made a special presentation to the high school during the monthly board meeting.
Angst said, "I am within days of my 87th birthday and I have a big home library."
He said one of the books he found in his library was "It Worked For Me," by Colin Powell, who Angst said was the only non-West Point graduate to become a four-star general.
A promotion for the book states, "If there's a theme that runs throughout the book, it's Powell's love for the U.S. Army from his days in ROTC, right through to becoming chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
Powell says that back when he was a lost 17-year-old at City College of New York, ROTC 'saved' him and kept him in school."
Angst presented the book to high school Principal Joseph Gunnels.
It was assured that the book would be made available for reading by JROTC members.