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Published January 06. 2014 05:00PM

Panther Valley High School's Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps programs 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 Army JROTC program came into being with the passage of the National Defense Act of 1916. The programs, staffed with active-duty Army retirees, are charged with "instilling in students in United States secondary educational institutions the value of citizenship, service to the United States, personal responsibility, and a sense of accomplishment," according to U.S. Code.

The program has evolved over the decades from being a source of recruits to being a character and leadership-building organization. Cadet enrollment stands at about 314,000 in 1,731 high schools, with 4,000 instructors.

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