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District to Partner with Pine-Richland for JROTC Program

In conjunction with its approval of several curriculum changes at Mars Area High School for the 2018-2019 School Year, Mars Area School Board voted in favor of a crosstown agreement with Pine-Richland School District to enable interested Mars Area High School students to participate in the Pine-Richland U.S. Air Force JROTC program.

The JROTC (Junior Reserve Officers Training Corp) program will be open to all Mars Area High School students in Grades 9-12. Participating students will be bussed to and from Pine-Richland High School daily to attend JROTC courses and activities.

Air Force JROTC is a leadership and character education program that motivates students to be better citizens, says Maj. Michael Morrison, who instructs the Pine-Richland program along with Chief Master Sgt. Michael Gasparetto. The program is focused on community service and teaches respect for self and authority, personal responsibility, and teamwork skills.

In the classroom, the JROTC curriculum will focus on different aspects of Aerospace Science, says Morrison. Participants will also have an opportunity to visit Air Force bases, aerospace facilities and historic sites; receive flight simulator training; attend drill competition and other JROTC-related socials and sports activities; perform color guard duties; participate in summer cadet leadership camps; and to organize and join in programs serving the local community.

Students participating in JROTC are not obligated to serve in the military and the program is not an avenue for recruitment, says Morrison. All uniforms and training materials will be provided.

“(Mars Area School Board) has every confidence that this is going to be a excellent partnership,” says Dayle Ferguson, Board president. “Our students will now have an opportunity to learn, serve and grow in a way that they could not (before).”

For more information, call (724) 625-1518 or visit