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Pickering Funeral Home Makes a Unique Donation to MMA

IMG_2132Missouri Military Academy recently accepted what some may consider an unexpected donation – on April 25, a casket and cart were delivered to the campus by David Pickering of Pickering Funeral Home in Mexico, Missouri.

However unusual it may be, the purpose of the casket at the all-boy military academy is quite serious. The casket will be used as a practice piece by the cadet Honor Guard, which performs full military honors at the funerals of Missouri veterans. The Honor Guard is composed of high school students and is officially approved by the Missouri National Guard to perform such honors.

MAJ Brian Galarza, Assistant Commandant, worked to coordinate the donation of such an item and was pleased to hear that the Pickerings were willing to make the contribution. “Having an actual casket makes a huge difference in the cadets’ training for the Honor Guard,” he says. Precision of movement is a hallmark of military protocol and the casket will allow cadets to practice more effectively.

2013 Superior Cadet Award

MMA 2013 Superior Cadet Award

MMA 2013 Superior Cadet Award Presentation During Spring Family Weekend
Photo credit: Coetta Brashear

Cadets with the highest standing in military and academic aspects are awarded the Superior Cadet Award. One cadet from each Leadership Excellence Training, (LET) level was presented with this prestigious award.

The following cadets were awarded the medal for the 2012-2013 academic year.  Richard Massey- Scott LET 4; Jacob Preister LET 3; Roel Rodriguez LET 2; Paolo Rosado LET 1.  This award was presented to them during the Spring Family Weekend at Missouri Military Academy on April 21, 2013 by Missouri Military Academy President Charles A. McGeorge.

By: Kurtis Mennemeier and Ethan Rachell

2013 General Douglas MacArthur Award

Missouri Military Academy General Douglas MacArthur Award

Missouri Military Academy General Douglas MacArthur Award Recipient Cadet BC John Dillon
Photo credit: Coetta Brashear

During the 2013 Annual Formal Inspection, Missouri Military Academy presented a very prestigious award to one its top cadets.  The MacArthur Award is awarded to the MMA cadet who displays exemplary work in academics, leadership, and athletics.  This year’s recipient is Battalion Commander John Dillon ‘13.  The MacArthur Foundation Award includes a medal, a book written by Edward T. Imparato, “MacArthur: Melbourne to Tokyo,” and a $50 check.

By: Nick Vanatta and Blake Gorman


2013 Festival of the Arts



Missouri Military Academy once again hosted its spring Festival of the Arts on April 20 and 21, recognizing and showcasing cadets’ talents and achievements in visual and performing arts. On Saturday night, the Academy celebrated the performing arts during a 2 1/2 hour extravaganza that included the Concert Band, Jazz Band, Chorus and Dramateers.

See photos from the Festival of the Arts.

The Festival of the Arts program opened with the Middle School Band, directed by CPT Josh Yancey, MMA’s Bandmaster. After performances of “Bandroom Boogie,” “Rock n’ Roll Part 2,” and “Latin Fire.” CPT Yancey then recognized the recipients of the middle school band ribbon:

Middle School Band Ribbon: Eugenio Barrera, Chandler Bolinger, Samer Doumit, Juan Hernandez, Antonio Montes, Miguel Quijano, Carlos Ramos, Santiago Sada, Ricardo Salido, Mason Scott, Francisco Siller

Next up was the MMA Chorus, directed by music teacher and Fine Arts department chair MAJ Mike Shoemaker. The chorus performed the reverent “In Flanders Field,” “(Ghost) Riders in the Sky,” and “Brother Will, Brother John,” a solo by senior Richard Massey-Scott. The group then dedicated the song “He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother” to the Corps of Cadets and finished up with the Huey Lewis pop song, “It’s All Right,” with a special shoutout to LTC Giuseffi’s trademark phrase.

Before the chorus left the stage, MAJ Shoemaker recognized some of his singers’ talent with some awards:

Phillip Russel Award to the Best First-Year Member – Jesus Herrera

Outstanding Contributor to Cadet ChorusRichard Massey-Scott


MMA Jazz Band. Photo Credit: Dillion Brown Dawson

Fine Arts Ribbon – Vocal Music: Kotaro Kasamatsu, Dallas Lopez, Richard Massey-Scott, Jacob Phillips

MMA junior Chad Cardott  performed a trombone solo, “Hasse Suite,” before the MMA Jazz Band, which was developed at MMA by CPT Yancey in recent years, took the stage to finish up the first half of the show. The band performed “Mister Cool,” “Ballad for a Blue Horn,” featuring an alto saxophone solo by Daniel Diaz and rounded up the performance with “All Blues.”

A brief intermission was held before two solo performances took place. Senior John O’Leary performed Chopin’s “Nocturne in C# Minor” on the piano, followed by Daniel Diaz played “Nocturne,” on the clarinet.

The Dramateers then stormed the stage with three short skits: Jabberwocky, Random #42 and X7. The first was adapted and the latter two were penned by Dramateers advisor CPT Jon Griffin. After the performances, CPT Griffin presented drama awards to the following students:

Stribling Dramateer of the Year Award – Ben Mertens

Most Versatile DramateerBlake Bibles

Drama Ribbons

First Year (Ribbon only) – Kane Anderson, Jacob Conyers, Michael Courte, Daniel Diaz, Sebastian Diaz, Alberto Elizondo, J.D. Gonzalez, Blake Gorman, Hugh Harris, Gavin Hendee, Leo Lozano, Kurtis Mennemeier, Kyle Mertens, Chase Osborne, Ricardo Padilla, Jacob Priester, Santiago Prieto, Nick Vanatta

Second Year (Ribbon + Bronze Star) – Tajae Blue, Oliver Fitzgerald, Emeterio Gomez, Jonathan Kirkland, Nicholas Mabbs, Eoghan Matthews, Jacob Phillips, Christian Thomas, Gilberto Villarreal

Third Year (Ribbon + Silver Star) – Blake Bibles, Parker Bridge, Chad Cardott, Richard Massey-Scott

Fourth Year (Ribbon + Gold Star) – John Dillon, Benjamin Mertens

epple memorial art show

Photo Credit: Coetta Brashear

The performances wrapped up with the High School Concert Band’s show – “Miss Liberty’s March,” “Ascend,” “Largo,” and a medley of selections from the Broadway musical Chicago.  CPT Yancey then presented awards to outstanding high school band students:

Crain-Jorischie Jazz Musician Award – Daniel Diaz

John Phillips Sousa Band Award – Jacob Myers

Band Ribbons

First Year (Ribbon only) – Tajae Blue, Jordan Butz, Jacob Conyers, Connor Cunningham, Raul Escarcega, Sean Fitzgerald, David Gu, Gavin Hendee, YunIl Jeon, Joshua John, Maverick Jones, Jonathan Kirkland, Mason Kussman, David Lazcano, Robert Moore, Brennan Morand, Julien Mugabo, Miles O’Keefe, Jason Russell, Jon Snyder, Pedro Tinoco, Hang Zhang

Second Year (Ribbon + Bronze Star) – Blake Bibles, Oliver Fitzgerald, Kotaro Kasamatsu, Jacob Myers, D’Cherion Owens, Detallion Owens, Reed Vaughan

Third Year (Ribbon + Silver Star) – Chadwick Cardott, Austin Teague

Fourth Year (Ribbon + Silver Star) – Daniel Diaz, John Dillon, Cody Olson

Fine Arts Ribbon – Instrumental MusicChad Cardott, Emilio Cueto, Daniel Diaz, John Dillon, Nischal Khanal, John O’Leary, Jon Snyder, Eduardo Valenzo

The weekend events also included the Epple Memorial Art Show in the Charlie Company rec room. Art instructor LT Chris Bain displayed a variety of cadet works of art, including photos, paintings, pencil and other media. Several pieces of art were for sale, with proceeds benefiting the individual cadet artist and the MMA visual art program. During Saturday night’s Festival of the Arts performance, LT Bain recognized several cadets for their exemplary work via the following awards:

Art Achievement Award –Paolo Rosado

Middle School Award – Juan Gonzalez Luna Escoto

Creative Art Award – Jose Estrada,  Omar Sanchez Ibarra 

Fine Arts Ribbon, Visual Art – Kane Anderson, Fernando Blanco, Vincent Burke, Hunter Bush, Francisco Del Rio, Jose Estrada, Jose Refugio Garcia, Nicolas Mabbs, Benjamin Mertens, Francisco Morales, Felix Paz, Paolo Rosado, Khas-Ochir Sod-Erdene, Rodrigo Vilches, Hang Zhang

art show

Epple Memorial Art Show. Photo credit: Coetta Brashear

 Art Ribbon – Juan Aguirre, Byron Amidon, Kane Anderson, Bruno Avataneo, Edmond Biruta, Fernando Blanco, Jose Bours, Vincent Burke, Hunter Bush, Jose Carrillo, Michael Courte, Francisco Del Rio, Sebastian Diaz, Clayton Ebert, Emilio Elias, Jose Estrada, Hayden Fairbanks, Orlando Farias, Juan Ramon Flores, Jose Refugio Garcia, Jose Garcia, Victor Gomez, Roger Gonzalez, Juan Gonzalez, Hector Granillo, Oscar Gutierrez, Blake Gorman, Quentin Heasler, Xinshuai Hu, Sanchez Ibarra, Benjamin Jennison, Jonathan Kirkland, John Kohm, Qi Li, Enkhbilegt Luvsandorj, Nicolas Mabbs, Benjamin Mertens, Francisco Morales, Emilio Nanni, Charles Norman, Pedro Onieva, Ricardo Padilla, Rodrigo Padilla, Felix Paz, Ning Yong Qin, Jonathan Richardson, Paolo Rosado, Sergio Salas, Ivan Salinas, Adam Schmitz, Khas-Ochir Sod-Erdene, Dasheng Sun, Pedro Tinoco, Rodrigo Vilches, Chen Wang, Hang Gao Wei, Oliver Worthington, Jiahao Wu, Andres Zamora, Hang Zhang

The weekend also provided an opportunity to recognize MMA’s student journalists. The following received awards on Saturday night:

Lyle C. Wilson Journalism ScrollDillion Brown Dawson

Pearl Green Whitney Memorial AwardBlake Gorman


Missouri Military Academy Announces 124th Commencement Weekend Schedule

2013 commencementMissouri Military Academy recently announced the plan of events for its 124th Commencement May 24-25. The weekend includes awards ceremonies, military reviews, special events for seniors and a graduation ceremony. The events culminate in a Final Formation, a traditional goodbye that is held on front campus.


View the complete schedule here.

The 2013 Commencement speaker will be Colonel John C. Church Jr., USMC. Colonel Church is an Assistant Professor of English and Communication at Immaculata University.  Prior to returning to the classroom John was the first President in the 75-year history of Valley Forge Military College.  He is a colonel in the Marine Reserves.  In 2010 he returned to Valley Forge to assume the presidency after distinguished service with the 2nd Marine Expeditionary Brigade in Helmand Province, Afghanistan, where he coordinated civil-military operations for the commanding general and his staff.  Prior to that assignment, he commanded a combined, joint Civil Affairs unit, leading Marines, soldiers, sailors, and Iraqi civilians in Ar Ramadi, Iraq.  His work with the “Al Anbar Awakening” has taken on historic importance.  Colonel Church enlisted from Detroit and served as an active duty U.S. Navy deck seaman and hospital corpsman assigned to the Marines.  He attended the Naval Academy Preparatory School in Newport, Rhode Island, and earned a Secretary of the Navy appointment to the U.S. Naval Academy.

On active duty, Colonel Church served at 3rd Combat Engineer Battalion in Okinawa, Japan, and 1st Combat Engineer Battalion in Mogadishu, Somalia.  He also served at Marine Corps Recruit Depot, Parris Island, South Carolina, and Headquarters U. S. Marine Corps at the Pentagon.  As a reservist, Colonel Church commanded Company C, 4th Combat Engineer Battalion in Lynchburg, Virginia, from where he led his Marines to the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.  With 4th Civil Affairs Group, Colonel Church served in Kosovo, two tours of duty in Iraq, and his most recent assignment in Afghanistan.  He also taught Armed Forces of Liberia soldiers civil-military relationship training in that Africa nation.COL John Church

After leaving active duty, John taught at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington, the U. S. Naval War College, and George Mason University.  Before returning to the classroom, he was, first, an assistant professor of leadership at Valley Forge Military College. He then became dean, and led the charge to accept women at the college.  Before his deployment to Afghanistan, he was the Director of the Service Academy Preparatory Program at VFMC. John earned a M.A. in National Security and Strategic Studies from the U. S. Naval War College, a M.A. in Communication Journalism and Public Affairs from American University in Washington, D.C. and a B.S. in Political Science from the U.S. Naval Academy.  He is a doctoral student in Mass Media and Communication at Temple University.  John’s personal reflections of duty throughout the world have been featured in both the Washington Post and the Philadelphia Inquirer.  In 2009, John’s submission, “The Best Seven Months of Our Lives: The War in Iraq and the Battle in Hollywood” won first prize for “Top Graduate Competitive Papers” in the Pennsylvania Communication Association Writing Competition.  In 2010,  his “This I Believe” essay was featured on WHYY and National Public Radio.  John has hosted “Life Long Learning” which can be seen on Radnor Studio 21, Radnor Township, PA.  In 2011, John presented remarks, along with Mayor Michael Nutter, at the Philadelphia Day of Service and Remembrance honoring the Tenth Anniversary of 9/11.  In 2012, John’s service in Liberia was featured in the Immaculata University magazine as one of his IU students was the nephew of President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.  John has lectured on the dynamic of effective small unit leadership at the United States Coast Guard Academy, the United States Merchant Marine Academy, St. Joseph’s University Air Force ROTC Detachment in Philadelphia, and at the Bryn Mawr Film Institute in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania.

Colonel Church is currently assigned to U.S. Marine Corps Headquarters, the Pentagon, where he leads the Civil-Military Integration Team.  His personal decorations include: the Meritorious Service Medal with two Gold Stars, the Navy/Marine Corps Commendation Medal with two Gold Stars, the Army Commendation Medal, the Navy/Marine Corps Achievement Medal and the Combat Action Ribbon.  As a midshipman John was a member of the U.S. Naval Academy’s nationally ranked lacrosse program.  As a junior officer, he was a member of the USMC All-Marine Rugby team on four occasions.  Colonel Church and his wife Mary Kay, a retired Marine major, are the proud parents of John Carl III (“JC”), Travis Joseph, Cathryn Harper and Claire Ripley (named in honor of Marine Corps legend Col. John Ripley USMC (Ret).  John is the son of Colonel and Mrs. John C. Church, Sr., USMC (Retired) of Mount Clemens, Michigan.

Spring Family Weekend Honored Mothers and Grandmothers

IMG_2071  Missouri Military Academy celebrated traditions old and new during the annual Spring Family Weekend April 20-21, 2013. In addition to the Festival of the Arts and the Middle School Science Fair, the weekend took time to honor cadets’ mothers and grandmothers.

Saturday morning’s Mother’s Tea, a tradition that began five years ago and has grown each year, allowed mothers and grandmothers to congregate and make new friends with moms from around the world. The Parents’ Committee also recognized the hard work of parent volunteers who spent time and resources to enhance MMA cadets’ experience at MMA. Parent Committee Chair Cindy Dillon of Colorado Springs, Colo., was recognized by the Committee and thanked for her dedication to the Corps. Her son, Battalion Commander John Dillon, will graduate from MMA in May after five years as a cadet.

On Sunday mothers, grandmothers and the staff and faculty “moms” who were present participated in the Flower Ceremony, a decades-old MMA tradition of pinning a red Spring Family Weekendcarnation on a cadet’s lapel as they stand in formation. The Corps also held a moment of silence as President Tony McGeorge, his wife Joy and representatives of the Parents’ Committee pinned white flowers on the boys whose mothers have passed away.

The ceremony was followed by a Battalion Review. MAJ Dennis Diederich was the reviewing official, along with WO2 Richard Thornton, the Director of Cadet Life and President McGeorge.

On Sunday evening Cindy Dillon was the guest speaker at the Vespers ceremony, during which she shared some of her personal feelings about sending her son to MMA.

Middle School Science Fair Winners


MMA Science Fair
Middle school students took on a variety of projects.

The annual MMA Middle School Science Fair took place April 19-21, coinciding with the Spring Family Weekend. Under the direction of science teacher LTC Willis Kleinsorge, students conducted experiments and explained their findings. The winners were announced during the weekend:

1st Place Overall 2013 Science Fair Winner:
Eugenio Barrera and Carlos Ramos – “Getting A Bang Out Of Breath Spray”

 3-Way Tie: 2nd Place Overall 2013 Winners:
Juan A. Hernandez, Rodrigo Marroquin and Antonio Montes – “Producing Hydrogen Gas”
Daniel Perez & Ricardo Salido  – “Dancing Fire”
TaJae Blue – “Thermal Insulation”







8th Grade Science Fair Winners:

8th grade winner

1st Place and Medal:
Eugenio Barrera and Carlos Ramos – “Getting A Bang Out Of Breath Spray”

2nd Place and Medal:  (Tie)
Juan Antonio Hernandez, Rodrigo Marroquin and Antonio Montes – “Producing Hydrogen Gas”
Daniel Perez and Ricardo Salido – “Dancing Fire”
TaJae Blue – “Thermal Insulation”

3rd Place and Medal:
Sean Fitzgerald, YiHeng Hu, Julien Mugabo and Tan Pongsuea – “The Color of Flames”

Honorable Mention:
Jorge Aduna, Raul Escarcega and Sergio Mayer – “Elephant Toothpaste”





7th Grade Science Fair Winners:


1st Place & Medal: (Tie)
Santiago Sada and Ivan Salinas – “Smoking”

1st Place & Medal: (Tie)
Juan Carlos Guerra and Juan Pablo Leal – “The Glowing Penny”

2nd Place & Medal:  (Tie)
Charlie Norman and Mason Scott – “The Fire Tornado”

2nd Place & Medal:  (Tie)
Jean-Luc Shyaka – “Which Popcorn Brand Pops The Best?”

3rd Place & Medal:
Samer Doumit and Juan Diego Gonzalez – “Nail Bed”





6th Grade Science Fair Winners:


sixth grade science fair winners1st Place & Medal:
Pablo Garza – “The First Turbine Ever Made”

2nd Place:  (Tie)
Chandler Bolinger and Braulio Garcia – “The Big Volcano”

2nd Place:  (Tie)
Yanni Le – “Colored Milk”

MMA Golfer Advances to Sectionals

Fernando Lopez

Fernando Lopez

The MMA golf team competed Monday in their Class 3, District 4 golf tournament at Heritage Hills Golf Club in Moberly. Cadet Fernando Lopez ’14 (left) succeeded in advancing to the next level by turning in a score of 89 for the eighteen holes. He will compete next Monday, May 6 for his chance to advance to state competition.

Global Business Group Repeats at State FBLA Competition

The Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) team of Nischal Khanal ’13, Paolo Rosado ’14 and Connor Wilkinson ’14 took first place in the Global Business category in the State FBLA Leadership Conference in Columbia, Mo. this week.  The win qualifies them for the National FBLA Leadership Conference in San Antonio in late June.

This is the third year in a row that MMA has sent a group for national competition for FBLA.  In 2011, Matthew Reindel ’11 earned 4th in State and competed at Nationals in Business Law.  In 2012, the Global Business group of Tommy Abraham ’12, Anthony Ingracia ’12, and Jared Roberts ‘12 took first in state and qualified for nationals, but were unable to attend.

MMA’s FBLA chapter was chartered in 2008 by coordinator MAJ Peggy Reynard.  According to Reynard, in that time, FBLA cadets have won 14 first-place district awards, 18 presentations have been eligible for state competition, and FBLA cadets have won “1st to 10th Place” state awards.

Missouri Military Academy FBLA

Rosado, Khanal, Wilkinson, and FBLA Coordinator MAJ Peggy Reynard

Middle School Track Report

From head coach LTC Willis Kleinsorge:

“The Middle School participated in the much more difficult Mexico Relays Track Meet yesterday than the one they competed in on Monday, but our boys put forth a good effort once again, they just had more competition.  Two of the team members earned medals.  Most of them improved their times or distances!

TaJae Blue placed 4th in the Long Jump with a very good jump of 15 feet, 9.5 inches.  (The first place jumper had an amazing jump of 16′ 11.75″!)

Daniel Perez placed 4th in the High Jump with a two-inch improvement over his jump in the last meet, clearing 4 feet, 10 inches.  There was a six way tie at this height, but he cleared the jump on his first attempt, so was placed above four of the other jumpers.  The best jump of the meet was 5 feet, 4 inches.

There were over a dozen schools participating and the best of each school competed, so we did quite well considering the odds.”

MMA Seniors Raising Dollars and Awareness for Wounded Vets

On May 4-5, 42 Missouri Military Academy seniors and 10 adult chaperones will march to benefit a foundation that raises funds for critically wounded soldiers. The theme of the hike is “We March For Those Who Can’t.”

Executive Officer Lt. Col. Jim Medley announced last week that this year’s Senior Bivouac (Senior Hike) will be completed in honor of severely wounded veterans. The participants will hike 7 kilometers while wearing t-shirts purchased from Nine Line, a charity that sells t-shirts and apparel to raise funds to assist severely wounded veterans after they return from service.

Buy a t-shirt:

On May 9 (the date was chosen to represent the Nine Line Foundation) MMA faculty, staff, and cadets will wear the Nine Line Foundation t-shirts on campus.

The group, composed by members of the class of 2013 and several of their adult advisors, will hike the Cedar Creek Trail area of the Mark Twain National Forest. The trip is a final bonding experience for the 42 boys who will graduate from MMA in May and head off to colleges and universities in several countries. To date, this group has earned more than $2 million in college scholarships.Nineline Foundation logo

Nine Line Foundation is an organization that works to raise awareness of the harsh circumstances our severely injured service members face once their life threatening injuries are stabilized, and provide help on an individual basis. This includes providing lodging and transportation for loved ones to provide support during yearlong rehabilitations, raising money for tuition to send the children of soldiers to college, and retrofitting their homes to become handicap accessible.

In the military, the term Nine Line represents a request for help. These nine separate lines transmitted over a radio are often the difference between life and death, requesting the immediate evacuation of wounded soldiers from the battle field. The Nine Line Foundation’s mantra is “No Mission Denied.”

For more information about the Nine Line Foundation, visit the nonprofit’s website at

Math Bar Award Winners Announced

Special Order #54 was read at lunch this week, recognizing outstanding achievement during the second quarter of 2012-13 in Math.  Math Department chair MAJ Ananta Khanal awarded the following cadets the Math Bar:

Missouri Military Academy Academics

First row: Rodrigo Marroquin ’17 (8th Grade), Nishan Khanal ’16 (Pre-Calculus), Channing Carlson ’19 (6th Grade)
Second row: Brais Galvan ’15 (Algebra 2), Santiago Sada ’18 (7th Grade), John O’Leary ’13 (Statistics)
Third row: Guangning Wei ’15 (Geometry), Jacob Priester ’13 (AP Calculus AB), Benjamin Mertens ’13 (AP Statistics), Chase Osborne ’16 (Algebra 1)
Not pictured: Paolo Rosado ’14 (College Algebra)

MMA Welcomes New Director of Cadet Life

There has been an exciting addition to the Cadet Life program at MMA!  In an initiative designed to offer a more dynamic, fulfilling and youth-oriented cadet life curriculum,  we are pleased to announce that as of April 1, Warrant Officer Richard “Rik” Thornton, Royal Marines Commando (Ret.), will fill a new role at MMA –  the Director of Cadet Life.

In his new role, WO2 Thornton will be responsible for the general health, welfare, discipline, non-academic programming and morale of the Corps of Cadets. He will also be in charge of the assimilation of the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award into the cadet life curriculum.

WO2 Thornton is an enthusiastic, positive youth leader who brings valuable skills to the Missouri Military Academy program. Read about the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award and his experience below:

About The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award

logoThe award is a unique self-development program available to young people worldwide aged 14-25, equipping them with life skills to make a difference within themselves, their communities, and the world. Participants embark on a wide variety of activities and projects that span four award sections – Community Service, Physical Fitness, Special Skills, and an Adventurous Journey – all with the goal to “better themselves while helping others.”

The DOEA was founded in 1956 in the UK by Her Majesty the Queen’s husband, HRH The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award boasts operations in 144 countries around the world and is now entering its fourth year of operations in the United States. Missouri Military Academy will be the first DOEA chapter in Missouri and the only school in the United States to offer a school-wide program.

MORE: Click here for more information about the award

The goal of the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award is aligned with MMA’s 360 Degree Education – both exist to promote self-esteem and character development in young people. The 2013-2014 Corps of Cadets will have access to a life-changing experience.

About WO2 Thornton 

WO2 Thornton comes to MMA from Valley Forge Military Academy and College in Wayne, Pa., where he was most recently Commandant of Cadets. He previously served in the capacities of Command Sergeant Major, Training Officer and Tactical Officer. Before coming to the United States, he was a Warrant Officer in the Royal Marines Commando, participating in complex operations and training activities on a global level.

WO2 Thornton’s educational qualifications include a Bachelor’s degree in Military Training and Science from Indiana University, licences in Human Resources and Physical Resources Management, and an NEBS diploma in Management and City and Guilds in General Technology and Mechanical Engineering Maintenance.

He boasts a long list of professional training and qualifications, including certification in first aid, first responder instruction, SCUBA instruction, survival tactics and physical training. In his spare time he is an avid outdoorsman who enjoys sailing, running, cycling and shooting. Thornton also has participated in winter biathlons, triathlons, skydiving, cross country and Alpine skiing and has climbed the Matterhorn, Mont Blanc, Mt. Kilimanjaro and the foothills of Mt. Everest.

“Rik brings an impressive knowledge of and enthusiasm for engaging young people in exciting, challenging activities,” said Missouri Military Academy president Charles A. “Tony” McGeorge. “This, coupled with his excellent rapport with young people, will bring a tremendous change to our program.”

A Cadet’s Perspective: Why Did I Do That?

by Blake Gorman ’13, Eagle Columnist

GormanHumans are not perfect. MMA cadets certainly aren’t perfect.  Everyone makes that one decision that they regret for the rest of their lives but I like to think that an individual is “not defined by the bad decisions that he makes but by how he reacts after that bad decision,” as CPT Reynolds would put it. People have the freedom to make choices – whether those choices are bad or good. There will always be that moment when we will have the freedom to do the right or wrong thing when no one is watching.

My grandfather always tells me, “The people that put you down now will eventually be the ones that will work for you.” I always lived by that and used it as my motivation, now more than ever.

Pride is what fuels an individual to become successful but it is always the one thing that can poison an individual’s mind and ruin them. I believe that this is exactly what happened to me when I made a recent mistake. I tend to fix it by accepting, facing, and suffering my consequences for my actions. Then I will redeem myself and prove to everyone that I have changed with the amount of time that I have until the school year ends. Time is merely of an essence for me.

Whenever someone makes a terrible decision, it can affect them for the rest of their lives. They will regret it for the rest of their lives.  This is what will definitely define an individual’s will and perseverance. They can either live in a life time in a slump or they can try to find a solution to fixing their mistake and learn something from that mistake. We all have that free will to make good or bad choices. We usually think of this as a good thing but sometimes we take advantage of that privilege and that free will can easily turn into a curse, haunting us for the rest of our lives. But there is always a way to fix our mistakes and learn, even if it takes a lifetime to fix it.In general, people that make bad decisions generally don’t think of the long term effect of that decision. For example, when someone eats a fast food cheese burger they generally don’t think about what that cheeseburger will do to their body later that day. Instead they are thinking of the quick and delicious taste that is satisfying their hunger. Then later that day they may regret that decision after feeling the side effects of the burger.

When an individual is put in a tough situation instead of just acting on it simultaneously, they need to stop and think. One problem that I have is that I don’t think of what the consequences will be I think of ways to avoid those consequences. The only way to be 100% sure that anyone won’t face the consequences from bad decisions is by not making them in the first place. Think about what will happen when you make that decision and all the possible things that can happen and if one of the possibilities is you ending up suffering then don’t make that decision. The best thing to do when faced with a bad decision is to just walk away.

Major mistakes could never be undone and this is when you officially regret making that decision for the rest of your life. The only thing you can do at this point is reflect on it. People who make these types of bad decisions were most likely undergoing something called an “emotional hijacking,” when emotions take over someone and they act before they think.

MMA has given me better judgment during my time here, but nobody is perfect.  As human beings we all have our flaws. But try not to make that same mistake twice and put yourself in a precarious situation.

Blake Gorman is a senior cadet from Wentzville, Mo.  He will attend North Georgia College and State University in Dahlonega, Ga.

Three Cadets Named to State Music Festival Lineup

The results are in from last week’s District Music Festival at Mexico High School and three Missouri Military Academy cadets will compete for a state title in their specialty.  Chad Cardott ’14, Daniel Diaz ’13, and John O’Leary ’13 are slated to perform for a title at the University of Missouri April 25.

Cardott will compete in the trombone competition, Diaz in the clarinet competition, and O’Leary will be offering his piano performance for the judges’ consideration.  All three received the highest rating, ‘1’ (superior), for their performances in the district festival.  Those competitors with superior ratings move on to the state contest.

Missouri Military Academy Music

Pictured (L to R): MAJ Mike Shoemaker, O’Leary, Diaz, Cardott, CPT Josh Yancey

“All of our cadets put in an extraordinary amount of extra time honing their skills to perfect their respective solos and ensembles,” Band Director CPT Josh Yancey said.  “[MAJ Shoemaker] and I couldn’t be more proud.”

Additional cadets were recognized for their performance in the district competition.  Six cadets, and MMA’s brass quintet, received ‘2’ ratings (excellent).  Two others, and the saxophone quartet, were awarded ‘3’ (good) ratings.

Missouri Military Academy Music

Front row (L to R, category/rating): Shoemaker, Jacob Phillips (vocal, 2), O’Leary (piano, 1), Dallas Lopez (vocal, 3), Cody Olson (brass quintet, 2), Rick Massey-Scott (vocal, 2), Jacob Conyers (saxophone quarter, 3), Yun Il Jeon (tenor sax, 2), Gavin Hendee (trombone, 2), Yancey. Second row (L to R): Blake Bibles (saxophone quarter, 3), Daniel Diaz (clarinet, 1), Kotaro Kasamatsu (vocal, 2), Chad Cardott (trombone, 1), John Dillon (brass quintet, 2), Tony Vaughan (brass quintet, 2), Austin Teague (tuba, 2)