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Maryam Zafar entered high school the same way that many do: painfully shy and searching for something that would give her a sense of control. When a uniformed member of her school’s Junior Reserves Office’s Training Corps approached her at a school fair during her freshman year, she was immediately attracted by his professional presence and the discipline the organization offered. Once he told her that she could wear her hijab with the uniform, Zafar, a Pakistani American, was sold and joined the corps. Zafar credits the JROTC program for emboldening her to take initiative and leadership roles in other areas. “I was really, really quiet in middle school. And at the start of high school, I never spoke up,” she told me. “In the environment…
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