It’s not often at Missouri Military Academy that cadets have a chance to show off their moves on the dance floor. The annual Valentine Ball, hosted by the junior class, encourages them to do just that. The main event of MMA’s Valentine Weekend, the Ball is a formal military ball hosted by the cadets. Parents, siblings, friends, family, and even Miss Missouri were all invited to Mexico, Mo. February 8-10.
The weekend also provides an opportunity for families to visit their sons on campus, sit down and chat with teachers during conferences, and have a brief glimpse of life at MMA.
A number of parents ventured classroom to classroom in Barnard Hall for conferences with their sons’ teachers. The College Placement Office and Quartermaster also set up shop in the building’s atrium to pass along information to parents or to send them home with MMA memorabilia.
Many of the parents and some cadets took a break from their conferences and enjoyed a pancake breakfast in the Mess Hall. After the conferences concluded, the Corps gathered in formation in front of Stribling Hall for the mid-year Passing Through Ceremony. New cadets, or “recruits,” who enrolled in January were formally admitted to the 124th Corps of Cadets after completing their training to become full-time cadets. Each new cadet was recognized on front campus, shaking the hands of the Academy’s president, Executive Officer, Dean of Academics, Middle School principal, Commandant, and Battalion Commander.
Most cadets were able to travel off campus Saturday after the ceremony, but they were sure to get back in time to get ready for the evening’s Valentine Ball. Decked out in their dress uniforms, cadets began arriving at the Centennial Gymtorium well before dinner began.
The cadets and their dates shared a few laughs and some punch, and some had their photograph taken in the Gymtorium lobby prior to the dinner. After the four-course meal, the cadets, their dates, parents, faculty, and staff performed the traditional Grand March through the gym. But it wasn't long before they hit the dance floor.
The crowd paused midway through the evening to find out who would be the queen of the 2013 Valentine Ball. During the crowning ceremony, the junior class officers escorted each candidate to the main stage. First, junior class president Roel Rodriguez '14 walked Miss Missouri Tippe Emmott to her seat, then cadets Jose Bours '14, Jose Carrillo '14, Jack Solls '14, Austin Teague '14 each guided one of the queen candidates to the stage.
This year's candidates included Miss Jessica Ludovicy, Miss Madeline Brooks, Miss Sierra Westphal, and Miss Morgan Smith, all of Mexico, Mo. The crowd roared once Dallas Lopez '14 announced the name of the winner: Jessica Ludovicy. Emmott and Rodriguez crowned her as the queen of this year’s Valentine Ball. After the flashes ceased, cadets went back to the Cha Cha Slide and the Macarena until 10:00. Parents were then able to sign cadets out for the rest of the night and Sunday.
The weekend concluded with a Battalion Review honoring those cadets who earned the Academic Fourragere for the month of January.