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Pahrump Valley will end JROTC program

Pahrump Valley High will end its Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps program. Principal Desiree Veloz told KPVM-TV the school made the difficult decision to dissolve the federal program sponsored by the U.S. Armed Forces because fewer students are participating. She partly attributed the decline in the program to a change in its leadership after a key adviser retired in December 2021.

“That left us without an instructor,” she said in an interview with KPVM.

Protocol requires at least two instructors to operate a program. The JROTC master sergeant left last school year, Veloz said.

“Right now, we have a long-term sub in the position, however that is not recognized by the Army,” she said. “We had to make a determination – do we keep the program, or do we fold the program and look to offering something else for our students?”

Army officials advised Veloz that the school’s JROTC program had been “hurting,” she said.

“My heart doesn’t even really feel great about it,” Veloz said, about the difficult decision to dissolve the program. “We will provide an opportunity for kids that is a great opportunity. It’ll just look different.”

A STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics) elective could replace the program, she said.

Any future offering would likely depend on student interest, said Volez, who added that it would hopefully”maximize experience for students” and “attach to the real world.”

The district currently has a STEAM program for kindergarten through eighth-graders, she said, but doesn’t offer one for high schoolers.

JROTC aims to teach students citizenship, leadership, character and community service. It’s also seen as a pipeline to the military because many students often enlist following graduation.

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