JUNCTION CITY, Kan. - Junction City High School and Soldiers with the 97th Military Police Battalion formalized their previously informal partnership with a Partnership Charter Signing Ceremony March 18 in the JCHS school gymnasium.

"The 97th Military Police Battalion has already been involved with some high school activities this past fall," said JCHS principal Stanley Dodds. "However, this event today solidifies the opportunity to expand those involvements multiple times."

The 97th MP Bn. provided motivational speakers for pre-football game dinners, guest speakers to JCHS JROTC functions and provided training opportunities to the JROTC program and other groups.

"We are looking forward to this partnership with great anticipation and tapping into a tremendous number of now available resources that we have never had," Dodds said.

The principal said he looks forward to utilizing the many opportunities the military has to offer.

"In a career academy structure, we are looking for opportunities - resources to help our young people learn and grow about different careers that they can pursue," Dodds said. "Because of this particular location, being next to Fort Riley, there's a lot of opportunities in the military, but what we want our students to understand (is the) Soldiers and military leaders have degrees in other areas, so we are hoping to utilize their expertise and bring them within the classrooms."

Lt. Col. Michael Mathews, commander, 97th MP Bn., agreed with Dodds.

"I have a lot of very talented Soldiers and young officers in particular with college degrees ... we're hoping to have the opportunity to contribute in classrooms in a meaningful way and help the teachers and the administration, especially at a time when resources are short," Mathews said.

Mathews also said interaction with the surrounding communities have increased since Maj. Gen. Vincent Brooks, 1st Infantry Division and Fort Riley commanding general, assumed command.

"The 1st Infantry Division and other supporting units on Fort Riley have always worked hard to be good neighbors, but when the current commander of the "Big Red One," Maj. Gen. Brooks, arrived and assumed command, he asked us commanders to increase the rigor of our interactions with our supporting communities. This partnership will allow us to do just that."

The partnership will contribute to the school as well as the unit, he said.

"The work you do to educate our kids directly contributes to the readiness of the units at Fort Riley," Mathews said during the ceremony. "When a Soldier knows his kids are in good hands at school, then he or she can better focus on taking care of the mission. We hope this partnership will allow us to contribute to your education, as well as you have contributed to our mission."