Category Archives: Events

Commencement 2016

3_nguyenderekTHURSDAY, MAY 26:

Commencement Weekend kicked off on Thursday, May 26 with the 84th annual Wallace Fry Public Speaking Contest, which is held in honor of W. Wallace Fry, Jr. of the MMA class of 1903.

Three middle school students and four high school students vied for the top prize. The contest began with seventh grade speaker Tamar Modise whose speech was entitled, Do You Care? Homelessness in the USA. Modise was followed by eighth grader Derek Nguyen, whose speech was entitled, Society’s Codependence with the Environment.

“New technology has changed the interaction of people with the environment,” said Nguyen, who urged audience members to consider the impact that pollution and industry have on the planet. “We discovered atoms. … But at the same time, those atoms were used for nuclear warfare.”

The final middle school speaker was eighth grader Nehemiah Simmons, whose speech was entitled, The Irrelevance of the Constitution. Simmons argued that too few American citizens are aware of the inner workings of the U.S. government and the freedoms guaranteed by the Bill of Rights.

6_simmons“With the prudent use of our individual votes, we … can ensure that we are a government of the people, by the people and for the people,” Simmons concluded.

The first high school speaker was sophomore Francisco Fletes whose speech was entitled, Depression: The Silent Murderer. He began his address with a hypothetical scenario, asking the audience to imagine themselves in a large crowd of people.

“Not one of them seems to notice you. You are waving your arms. You are screaming out. You are begging to be noticed. No one even bats an eye,” Fletes said. “This is how many adolescents suffering from depression really feel.”

The sophomore spoke of the teen suicide rate, which has decreased since 1986 but has recently begun to spike, and urged his fellow students to reach out to friends who seem distant or troubled.

15_fletesUp next was senior Kyle Mertens, whose speech was entitled, Rewards as a Detriment to Competition. Mertens, who argued that awards such as Employee of the Month are detrimental to worker performance and morale, competed in the speech contest for the second consecutive year.

“When one is comparing themselves to others, it’s very difficult for them to move forward,” he said. “Not everyone can win.”

Juniors Hector Villanueva (The True Cost of Contact Sports) and Michael Wetzel (The Ultimate Honor) spoke next, followed by a short intermission allowing the trio of judges to deliberate. Returning judge Lou Leonatti, J.D. of Leonatti & Baker PC was joined by Dr. Kurt Jefferson of Westminster College and Patrick Morgan, J.D. of the Missouri State Treasurer’s Office.

Simmons received The Joy McGeorge Middle School Oratory Award, which is presented to the middle school cadet whose speech is judged to be the best on the basis of charismatic and knowledgeable oratory skill.

Fletes received The W. Wallace Fry Cup for Excellence in Speaking, which is presented to the cadet whose speech is judged to be the best on the basis of delivery, content and depth of thought.

bruce -- by FosterFRIDAY, MAY 27: MS FINAL ASSEMBLY

Commencement continued on Friday, May 27 with the Company Competitive Drill. Each company completed a prescribed set of maneuvers on the drill field and were judged by JROTC and Commandant’s Office staffers. Echo Company was declared the winner for the second consecutive year.

Following the Competitive Drill, sixth to eighth grade cadets and their families gathered in the Memorial Chapel for the Middle School Final Assembly. After a short greeting by Associate Dean for the Middle School Edsel Baker, Commandant of Cadets LTC Greg Seibert took the stage to present barracks and military awards.

Best Squad Leader Award: Nehemiah Simmons

Piper Barracks Award, given to the cadet receiving the fewest checks during the school year: Michael Naughton

G. David Bailey Discipline Trophy, for the cadet with the fewest disciplinary reports for the entire year: Kevyn Bruce

AT2 Jorge Soriano ’89 next presented the Major George T. Piper Award for Outstanding Middle School Athlete to Jordan Hornick.

Up next was LTC Willis Kleinsorge, who presented Spring Family Weekend Science Fair awards, followed by the presentation of academic honors.

Academic Fourragere, Marking Period V: Dongyang Chen, Jordan Hornick, Scout Jones, Michael Naughton. Academic Fourragere, Marking Period IV: Enrique Acevedo, Dongyang Chen, Nicholas Gonzalez, Jordan Hornick, Scout Jones, Michael Naughton, Santiago Sanchez, Nehemiah Simmons. Academic Fourragere, Marking Period VI: Enrique Acevedo, Dongyang Chen, Nicolas Gonzalez, Jordan Hornick, Thomas Huckins, Scout Jones, Michael Naughton, Derek Nguyen, Santiago Sanchez, Nehemiah Simmons. (To earn Academic Fourragere, cadets must earn a 3.7 grade point average for the marking period.)

Delta Phi Honor Sociey, middle school members: Dongyang Chen, Jordan Hornick, Scout Jones, Michael Naughton, Santiago Sanchez, Nehemiah Simmons.

acevedo_simmons_gonzalezn_naughton_hornick -- by FosterScholarship Medal, given for an average GPA of 3.7 or higher during fall 2015: Dongyang Chen, Jordan Hornick, Scout Jones, Michael Naughton, Nehemiah Simmons.

Scholarship Medal, given for an average GPA of 3.7 or higher during spring 2016: Dongyang Chen, Jordan Hornick, Scout Jones, Michael Naughton.

AT2 Jorge Soriano ’89 and Baker next took the stage to present the final batch of middle school honors and conduct the eighth grade promotion ceremony. Diplomas were awarded to 23 students.

Derrill S. Kuhlman Award, for extraordinary achievement in math and science; and Highest Scholarship in the Sixth Grade: Scout Jones

Highest Scholarship in the Seventh Grade: Santiago Sanchez
Highest Scholarship in the Eighth Grade: Dongyang Chen & Michael Naughton
Richard White Improvement Plaque: Dongyang Chen
Judy A. Twells Middle School Drama Award: Alain Mestre

Faculty Plaque, awarded to an eight grade cadet who has shown the most leadership, cooperation and loyalty; and the Rotary Club Service Above Self Award, given to the cadet who, in the opinion of the faculty and staff, has been the most reliable helper during the school year: Michael Naughton

Paul Petit Award for International Relations, given to eighth grader(s) who have helped improve international relations in the middle school: Enrique Acevedo & Derek Nguyen

rodriguezc -- by FosterHal Heyman Memorial Award, for the eighth grader who, in the opinion of the faculty, possesses those characteristics that distinguish an All American Boy; and the Col. Jerome G. Harris Plaque, awarded to the most soldierly middle school cadet: Nehemiah Simmons

Petit Fellowship Cup, awarded to a cadet exhibiting the best fellowship for the year: Kevyn Bruce

Rotary “Leaders of Tomorrow” Award and $100 stipend:
Michael Naughton & Nehemiah Simmons

LT Governor Joe Maxwell Community Service Award, given to the middle schooler who contributed the highest number of community service hours: Oscar Lopez Benavides, 182.5 hours

President’s Award for Educational Excellence: Dongyang Chen, Michael Naughton & Nehemiah Simmons. (Given to eighth grade students who: earn a GPA of 3.5 or more for two or more consecutive years; and score in the 85th percentile in reading or math.)

President’s Award for Educational Achievement: Jordan Hornick


As middle school students and their families gathered in the Memorial Chapel, freshman through senior students and their families attended the High School Final Assembly. Accompanied by the MMA Band, the Corps of Cadets marched into the Centennial Gymtorium and recited the National Anthem before taking their seats

Academy President Charles McGeorge welcomed the crowd and spoke briefly about his favorite poem — Invictus — which a high school teacher shared with him during a tough time in his life.

The first batch of awards were presented by Academic Dean Dr. Frank Giuseffi.

fitzgerald_conyers_duing_lomasfreddie -- byECDavid Whitney ’54 Conservation Plaque, given for interest in and appreciation of conservation: Joseph Mulvey

Senator John C. Danforth Plaque for outstanding knowledge and appreciation of constitutional government: Maverick Jones

William F. Enright, Jr. ’37 Memorial Award for proficiency in business and computer studies: John Curley

Major William Bryan Essay Medal for excellence in writing: Alexander Seibert
Senator Thomas F. Eagleton Plaque for Excellence in Senior English: Connor Cunningham
Senator Thomas F. Eagleton Plaque for Excellence in Junior English: Sean Fitzgerald
Eugene Lamm Memorial Award for the most improved ESL student: Haozhang Li

Sylvia Mansfield Memorial Award and $200 stipend for ESL student(s) who have demonstrated great improvement in English: Yuqi Jin & Tamir Nyamdavaa

Next up was bandmaster WO2 Andrew “Freddie” Lomas with music awards.

welchjulia -- byECLTC E.R. Jackson Music Award for distinguished service to the music program: Robert Moore

COL Paul F. Cherches Memorial Award for the Most Valuable Band Member: Ethan Eisenmann

Streep Brothers Band Awards for loyalty, active participation, punctuality and good performance: sophomore Mitchell Duing, junior Sean Fitzgerald, senior Jacob Conyers

Following a performance of Like an Eagle by the Cadet Chorus, CPT Carl Estenik and SFC John Biddle took the stage to present military awards.

Master Sergeant Billy Crawford Memorial Award for Military Courtesy: Robert Van Huss
Military Policeman of the Year: Victor Armando Leon
Scottish Rite Free Mason Leadership Award: Ethan Istas
Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War JROTC Award for patriotism: Sean Hannagan
Daedalian JROTC Medal: Connor Cunningham
National Sojourners Award for encouragement and demonstration of Americanism: Sean Fitzgerald
Fusilier of the Year: Carlos Liriano
Daughters of the American Revolution History Medal for essay writing: Gabriel Elizondo
Raider of the Year: Kian Moriarty
Special Forces Association Medal for an Outstanding Raider: Jason Russell

choir_shoemaker2 -- byECDaughters of the American Revolution Award for outstanding ability and achievement: Oscar Cortada

Military Order of the World Wars Award for improvement in military and academic studies: Cody Allen

Military Officers Association of America Medal recognizing exceptional potential for military leadership: Ethan Eisenmann

gasteluma -- byECVeterans of Foreign Wars JROTC Award for excellence; and ROTC Distinguished Service Award for contributions to ROTC: Alfonso Leon

U.S. Daughters of 1812 Award for academic excellence, leadership and discipline: Turbold Tumurkhuu

Guests from multiple organizations also presented military and leadership awards.

Sons of the American Revolution medal for leadership and military bearing: Ngonga Mugabo
(Presented by Sons of the American Revolution representative Albert “Buff” Chance ’71)

Military Order of Purple Heart National Leadership Medal: Orlando Farias
(Presented by SSG Ralph Skelly, WWII veteran and recipient of The Purple Heart)

U.S. Army Recruiting Command Award for an outstanding scholar-athlete: Jesus Gracia
U.S. Army Recruiting Command Award in recognition of outstanding achievement
and contributions to the JROTC program:
Miguel Gonzalez
(Presented by SGT Nathaniel Herndon, U.S. Army National Guard Recruiting representative)

American Legion Award for Scholastic Excellence, upperclassman: Russell Holman
American Legion Award for Scholastic Excellence, underclassman: Aaron Thompson
American Legion Award for Military Excellence: Enkhbilegt Luvsandorj
(Presented by LTC John Buckwalter, American Legion Zone I-Vice Commander)

The following athletic awards were presented by Athletic Director MAJ Kevin Farley.

Babe Ruth Sportsmanship Award: Alejandro Gastelum
Joe D. Bailey Award for Most Dedicated Varsity Athlete: Robert Shields
Outstanding MMA Athlete: Sean Fitzgerald

giuseffi -- byECThe following discipline and leadership awards were presented by Commandant of Cadets LTC Greg Seibert.

Class of 1968 Freshman Leadership Award: Richard Choy

Meritas Plaque for Excellence in Discipline: Victor Arturo Leon, Julien Mugabo, Nyamkhuu Chinguun, Eduardo Gonzalez, Thomas Dean, Jose Elizondo, Turbold Tumurkhuu, Mitchell Duing, Yinzhou Wang, Gabriel Vallejo.

istas_albertsen_gonzalezem_choy -- byECRichard Hall Memorial Award for an Underclassman Who Best Exemplifies the True Gentleman: Gabriel Elizondo

Residential Faculty of the Year Award, given to the mentor who has made an impact on the lives of the cadets in their company: LT Zoe Alsbury

Following a performance of Benedictus by the MMA Band, Academy President Charles McGeorge presented a number of behavioral awards.

AMSCUS Medal for integrity, scholarship, leadership and service: Oscar Cortada
Steve Walker Memorial Award for an Outstanding First-Year Cadet: Jared Violette
Jack Meyers ’39, Memorial Cup for Most Creative Cadet: Naranmandakh Ayulgui
Otto Ferguson Aviation Award is given to the first cadet in the corps to fly solo: Mauro Garza

McGeorge also recognized staffers for their years of service to the Academy.

Five years: Edsel Baker, CPT Murrell Adams, Deanna Blair, Chad Herron, Julia Welch.
Fifteen years: David Cross, MAJ Ananta Khanal.
Twenty years: Melody Daly, MAJ Peggy Reynard.
Thirty years: LTC Willis Kleinsorge.


Following the Baccalaureate ceremony in the Memorial Chapel, seniors and their families headed to the Centennial Gymtorium for the 33rd annual Senior Banquet.

One by one, each senior stepped through an arch of sabers for the final time, then descended the stage and was formally inducted into the MMA Alumni Association. Each senior’s name, college choice and photograph were projected as he crossed the stage.

conyersToasts were led by five-year cadet and Senior Class President Yunil Jeon.

“Every single lesson we have learned from this school,” Jeon said, “will help us to make the correct decisions when we are out in the real world, when we are struggling.”

Connor Cunningham then delivered the Class Chronicle, which featured photographs of each member of the Class of 2016.

moorer3“No matter how long we have known each other, we are brothers for the rest of our lives,” Cunningham said.

Alumni Association President Jeffrey R. Kays ’84 next took the podium and spoke of the “shared heritage” of every MMA graduate. According to Kays, a nine-year cadet who served as Battalion Adjutant his senior year, not becoming involved sooner in the MMA Alumni Association was a big mistake.

“If we had never met before but we somehow met in passing, say at an airport or a football game, we would immediately have a bond,” Kays said. “Even though I am 33 years older than you and we are may be from different continents, we would immediately know something about each other because we shared some of the same experiences.”

carter1The following awards were presented during the Senior Banquet.

Richard Cooper ’82 Plaque for the senior with the longest unbroken tenure as a cadet: David Lazcano, 5 years

American Veterans Medal for Military Excellence: Russell Holman

American Veterans Medal for Leadership: Thomas Dean. (Presented by American Veterans of Missouri representative SGT Carol Thompson and CPT Carl Estenik.)

Alumni Plaque for the Senior Voted Most Likely to Succeed: Matheus Alexandre
William S. Lowe Trophy: Eduardo Gonzalez
COL Jerome G. Harris Cup for Soldierly Qualities: Rene Padilla

IMG_1741COL Veon McConnell Korean Trophy for a cadet officer who performs his duty with diligence: Alfonso Leon

Dr. Gregory “Doc” McDonald Award, given to the cadet who demonstrates the MMA Honor Code and values: Damdinbazar Sumiyabazar

Class of 1984 Unhearalded Leader Award, given to a senior cadet who is not an officer, but is respected by his classmates and is considered an instrumental part of pulling the class together: William Carter

The banquet concluded with the singing of Old MMA led by Cadet Chorus member Eduardo Gonzalez and a benediction led by Class Vice President Jose Estrada.


Senior students gathered on the parade field for the final time on the morning of May 28. During this special Battalion Review, Battalion Commander for the 2015-16 school year Mohammad Emran Babak ’16 presented incoming BC cadet Gregory Prinster ’17 with the Davison Saber. As the ceremony ended, cadets seniors marched toward the Centennial Gymtorium with their families following suit.

24_group_tumurkhuu_dean_leona_leea_snyder_byECThe 2016 Commencement ceremony began as faculty members and seniors performed their traditional march into the Centennial Gymtorium to the tune of Marche Militaire. Leading the procession was LTC Willis Kleinsorge with the Class of 2015 Mace. After the posting of the colors and the Pledge of Allegiance, Academy President Charles McGeorge took the stage to welcome attendees.

The following awards were presented by Associate Dean for the Middle School Edsel Baker and Academic Dean Dr. Frank Giuseffi.

Stribling Cup for Highest Efficiency in the Middle School: Nehemiah Simmons
Sen. Christopher S. Bond Award for Outstanding Middle School Underclassman: Nicolas Gonzalez
Plaque for Highest Scholarship in the Freshman Class: Angel Alcaraz
Plaque for Highest Scholarship in the Sophomore Class: Gabriel Vallejo
Plaque for Highest Scholarship in the Junior Class: Gregory Prinster

babak2Following performances of You Raise me Up and the Battle Hymn of the Republic by the Cadet Chorus, McGeorge took the stage to present two staff awards.

Abbott-Albright Faculty Award for Excellence in Teaching, awarded to the outstanding teacher for the academic year: Cheryl Morris

Heimos Trophy for a faculty or staff member voted by fellow faculty members to have done the most for the boys during the year: MAJ Mike Pemberton

gonzaleze_ayulguiSalutatorian and Class President Yunil Jeon next presented McGeorge with a $1,550 check from the senior class, which will purchase a Marine Corps bench for the memorial wall.

Up next were the discipline and highly-coveted company competition awards, which were presented by McGeorge.

Robert H. Weaver Memorial Award:
Dr. Russell Holman & Mrs. Laura Holman
(Given to those who best exemplify unconditional effort on behalf of the Academy and Corps of Cadets; work towards the goals established by the Parents & Alumni Committee; and display unceasing drive and commitment throughout the year to better life at the Academy.)

Fritsch Plaque and stipend for the eleventh grade cadet who exemplifies honor, good discipline, academic excellence and service: Alejandro Gastelum

holmanDorsey Anderson Class of 1895 Cup for the Cadet Exerting the Most Gentlemanly Example: Russell Holman

Red Ireland ’41 Trophy for a Fighting Heart, for the cadet who displays loyalty and courage: Donald Williams

Mustang Scholars Foundation Plaque, awarded to the cadet who promotes multiculturalism in the Corps: Matheus Alexandre

M-Club Award, Highest Disciplinary Standing & Highest Scholastic Standing: Band Company
Highest Athletic Standing & Highest Military Standing: Bravo Company
Company Spirit Award: Delta Company
Honor Company: Charlie Company

Don Hooton Class of 1919 Fellowship Cup, awarded to the cadet voted by the Corps to be the Senior Most Valuable to the Institution: Enkhbilegt Luvsandorj

Outstanding Performance by a Company Commander Plaque: Eduardo Gonzalez
Charles I. “Stony” Wall Class of 1922 Cup: Eduardo Gonzalez
neimeyer(The second-highest leadership award given to an MMA cadet. Awarded to a cadet who displays the traits of character, leadership, scholarship and service upon which the Academy was founded.)

Cadets Charles Eckardt and Emran Babak next took the stage to receive their Duke of Edinburgh’s Gold Medals, which were the first gold awards presented in the state of Missouri. For more information about their Adventurous Journey, click here. Babak next received the Legion of Honor, the highest award which can be given to an MMA cadet, which is awarded to an outstanding cadet who demonstrates industry, integrity, leadership and loyalty to MMA.

After receiving the Dr. James C. Olson Award for the Highest Scholarship in the Class of 2016, valedictorian Nishan Khanal took the stage to present his remarks. He was followed by commencement speaker Dr. Charles P. Neimeyer, Director of Marine Corps History and the Gray Research Center at Marine Corps University.

After a performance of The 1812 Overture by the MMA Band, seniors received their diplomas and walked across the stage, pausing to pose for a photographs. The ceremony concluded with the singing of Old MMA and the retiring of the colors.


The 127th Corps of Cadets marched from the Gymtorium to the front lawn, forming up for the final moments of their time as cadets at MMA. Family members and friends crowded the roped-off grass, snapping photos as seniors marched to the edge of Teardrop Lake. Upon command by Battalion Commander Emran Babak ’16, graduating seniors plunged their sabers into the grass, placed their hats upon their hilts, and saluted as the sound of Taps (led by bugler Mitchell Duing) echoed across the silent grounds.

As the final note faded, emotional seniors embraced one another for several minutes, tearfully hugging their brothers. The crowd of family members, faculty and friends soon flooded the grounds. A period of tearful goodbyes and hugs followed, as those with early flights home broke off and departed campus.

Missouri Military Academy’s 2016 Spring Family Weekend

4.16.16_nguyenderek_rodriguezc_courtLTCKOn April 16 and 17, cadets and their loved ones gathered for the annual Spring Family Weekend honoring mothers and grandmothers.


Spring Family Weekend began with the annual Mothers Tea at  10 a.m. Mothers, grandmothers and sisters donned festive hats and enjoyed tea, snacks and a presentation from Academy President Charles McGeorge. While the ladies gathered in the atrium, fathers and other guests perused the middle school science fair display in the second floor hallway.

First Place Overall & Eighth Grade First Place
Derek Nguyen & Carlos Rodriguez, Measuring Lung Capacity

Second Place Overall & Eighth Grade Second Place, TIE
Dongyang Chen, Dissolution of Sugar Cubes
Kevyn Bruce & Thomas Huckins, Producing Hydrogen

Eighth Grade
Third Place: Enrique Acevedo & Ethan Ford, The Big Black Worm
Fourth Place: Elian Harants & Isaac Perales, Elephant Toothpaste
Honorable Mention: Martin Farias & Joseph Kaplan, The Future of Transportation

Seventh Grade
First Place: Nicolas Gonzalez & Santiago Sanchez, Thermal Conductivity
Honorable Mention: Tamar Modise, The Big Bubble

Sixth Grade
First Place: Scout Jones, Electrolysis
Honorable Mention: Alexander Sheldon, Super Absorbent Polymer

IMG_9223_sheldon_blaue_robley_quinnFollowing the Mothers’ Tea, the Corps and their families gathered on the front lawn for the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award presentation. Cadets marched down the circle drive and received their medals from Academy President Charles McGeorge.

Silver Medals
Yunil Jeon
Russell Holman

Bronze Medals
Nyamkhuu Chinguun
Sugar Dashdavaa
Davaasuren Dashdavaa
Hector Villanueva
Ramon Rodriguez
Oybek Kirkland
Alexander Seibert
Benjamin Snider-Bilbrey
Weitao Cong
Robert Shields
Alejandro Gastelum


The festivities continued Saturday evening with the annual Festival of the Arts, which featured songs by the High School Band, Jazz Band, Rock Band and Cadet Chorus. Performances were punctuated by the presentation of journalism, band, choir and art awards.

IMG_9106_TOUCHETTEThe Festival of the Arts was an amazing array of color and music filling the night with laughter, culture and talent. The band took the crowd on a journey from Star Trek to Korean culture. The Choir sang their hearts out to give their mentor and teacher the best last performance of his career. As we said goodbye to MAJ Mike Shoemaker and the choir seniors, they passed the torch to the next generation. JONATHAN JAMES ’16


Pearl Green Whitney Memorial Award: senior Brennan Morand
Throughout the year, Brennan has served as a marketing intern, daily sacrificing his limited free time to photograph school functions. An award-winning graphic designer, Brennan spent his fifth period every day making copies, running errands, taking photos and receiving real-world job experience.

Lyle C. Wilson Award: senior Justin Touchette
Justin is a talented photographer and two-year member of the yearbook staff who is to be commended for his outstanding dedication to the yearbook. Justin’s photographs won first place at the Presser Hall Performing Arts Center photography contest and third place in the Balfour Great Shot contest. His images of the 2014 Crucible were printed in the hardbound 2016 Balfour Yearbook Yearbook.4.19.16_MooreL_byEC

Each year, the journalism bar is awarded to those students who go above and beyond the basic duties of a cadet enrolled in a journalism course at MMA. Recipients of the journalism bar must display exemplary classroom conduct and significant written or photographic contribution to the production of the yearbook and newspaper.

Oscar Cortada
Christian Foster
Jonathan James
Scout Jones
Lucas Moore
William Moore
Brennan Morand
Nathan Nolan
Alexander Seibert
Justin Touchette


Philip Russell ’68 Award for outstanding first-year member of the men’s chorus: Robert Van Huss ’16

Outstanding Contribution to the MMA Chorus: Eduardo Gonzalez ’16

During the intermission, cadets and their families browsed the Epple Memorial Art Show, which was held in the Centennial Gymtorium mezzanine.

IMG_8845“In the festival I had about 6 pieces of art showing,” Christian Foster ’19 said. “When I got there, I saw that one of the staff had bought my best piece yet. It was a landscape made out of all four seasons.”

Most Improved Award: Juan Letamendi ’17
Best Unconventional Art Award: David Garza ’16
Heart & Soul Award (for the most dedicated): Hernan Huerta ’18
Norman Rockwell Award (for the best illustration): Hank Williams ’18, Eduardo Gonzalez ’16
Michelangelo Art Award (for the best in sculpture): Naranmandakh Ayulgui ’16
Junior School Art Achievement Award: Jesus Perales ’20
Art Achievement Award: Gabriel Perez ’18
Creative Arts Award: Gabriel Vallejo ’18
Vincent Van Gogh Art Award (for the best Painting student): Emilio Nanni ’16
Banksy Graffiti Art Award: Sugar Dashdavaa ’17, Yinzhou Wang ’17

IMG_8857Pablo Picasso Art Award (for always sketching and improving): Cesar Garcia ’20, Parker Koontz ’17

Leonardo Da Vinci Art Award (for being a writer, an artist and a renaissance man): Emran Babak ’16

Attendees also purchased tickets for the halftime heads-or-tails game, during which cadets raised $300 toward the senior class project. Oscar Garcia correctly guessed the outcome of the most coin flips and was declared the winner of the game.

I enjoyed being a part of the Concert Band and playing all of the songs that some people didn’t get to hear at Maroon and Gold. The Jazz Band and Rock Band were amazing too! Choir was cool since they switched it up a bit and choose to sing some newer songs from this generation. NELSON AGUILERA ’16

IMG_9072_lomasfreddie_jeonBAND AWARDS

Jeff Crain & Jeff Jorishie Award for Outstanding Contribution to the Jazz Ensemble: Ethan Eisenmann ’16

John Philip Sousa Band Award: Yunil Jeon ’16

New additions to the Festival of the Arts this year included an all-student punk rock band (Yunil Jeon, Connor Cunningham, Otto Albertsen, Noah Hacker, Paul Murphy and Ethan Eisenmann) and a bluegrass song by the Salty River Boys — sophomore William Moore on the banjo, mentor CPT Thomas Roberts on the guitar, choir director MAJ Mike Shoemaker on the bass and Choir members Robert Van Huss, Noah Hacker and Otto Albertsen.


The day began with a senior class pancake breakfast fundraiser in the MMA dining hall.

“The pancake breakfast was a fundraiser for the senior project to get a Marine bench to join the rest of the military branches outside the Canteen,” Jonathan James ’16 said.

IMG_9288_padillareneThe pancake breakfast was followed by a battalion review and flower pinning ceremony. During this traditional MMA event, mothers pin their cadet with a red carnation provided by MMA. Mothers and grandparents who could not attend were represented by a faculty member or other MMA mother.

The flower pinning ceremony warmed the hearts of all the mothers and their sons. It was a special day to show our MMA mothers how much we appreciate them. The battalion review followed. Each company showed their appreciation for their mothers by trying to win the review for their families. In the end Echo, ended up taking home the win. JONATHAN JAMES ’16

During the battalion review, one cadet from each LET class received the Superior Cadet Award via JROTC Order No. 12. Students received the honor for displaying leadership potential, discipline, courtesy, character and excellence in military and academic scholarship.

Mitchell Duing, LET I
John Curley, LET II
Gregory Prinster, LET III, Second Award
Enkhbilegt Luvsandorj, LET IV



Maroon & Gold 2016

greitens_jeon_babak_liriano_curley_cortada_moorew_murphy_jonesm_joness_cunninghamAdministrators, faculty, staff, cadets, parents, alums and family members from all across the nation gathered April 2 at the Chase Park Plaza Hotel for the annual Maroon & Gold fundraising gala.


The star of the show at the 2016 Maroon & Gold dinner was LCDR Eric Greitens, the recipient of this year’s Gen. Clifton B. Cates, MMA class of 1910 “I Will Hold” Award for Leadership.

IMG_4650_mcgeorge_greitensThe award recognizes exceptional leaders who have demonstrated determination, steadfastness and perseverance through times of challenge. Greitens, a former Navy SEAL and combat veteran who served four tours of duty overseas, certainly fit the bill.

After returning home, Greitens founded The Mission Continues, a Missouri-based non-profit that helps returning veterans get back on their feet and give back to their communities. In 2014, Fortune EG speaker photo. colorMagazine named Greitens one of the “World’s 50 Greatest Leaders.” For more on Greitens and the I Will Hold Award, click here.


In mid-January, the Drum Corps received seven custom, hand-painted drums featuring the crest and colors of Missouri Military Academy. The instruments were purchased thanks to funds IMG_4576from the “Raise the Paddle” proceeds at the 2015 Maroon & Gold event and were unveiled with a dramatic march toward the stage at the 2016 event. (Funds from the 2016 “Raise The Paddle” will benefit the MMA lacrosse team.)

WO2 Freddie Lomas took the stage after the Drum Corps’ performance to deliver a call for action: help send the MMA band to Pearl Harbor!

1.12.15_NewDrum_ECIn December 2016, the Fighting Colonels Marching Band will spend a week in Hawaii, where they will perform alongside young musicians from across the U.S. and Japan at the 75th anniversary Pearl Harbor Band Tour. But they need help from the MMA community in order to ensure every cadet can attend regardless of their financial situation. You can help send our boys to Hawaii by purchasing a limited edition Band of Brothers t-shirt: click here for details.


In early February, the MMA Development office kicked off a cadet fundraising challenge to raise sponsorships and donations for Maroon and Gold 2016. The program, which was led by Annual Fund Director Cassandra Brooks, offered a fun competition and incentives. Eleven teams of cadets vied to raise the most funds. On the final day of the competition, raffle winners were announced at noon mess. Bravo won the deluxe showerheads, which were installed March 16.

For more information on the cadet fundraiser, click here.

Cadets Take the Lead for Maroon & Gold!

listofteamsIn early February, the MMA Development office kicked off a cadet fundraising challenge to raise sponsorships and donations for Maroon and Gold 2016. The program, which is led by the Parents Committee and Annual Fund director Cassandra Brooks, offered a fun competition and incentives.

Eleven teams of cadets – mixed up throughout the companies – vied to raise the most funds for Maroon and Gold, which supports the Academy’s overall program needs.

February 18: During noon mess, cadet Carlos Liriano ’18 received a gift card in the raffle drawing, while Alain Mestre ’20 received a gift card for writing the most thank you letters. As of noon mess, cadets had raised approximately $7,100 in only two days. That evening, Team Silva-Linings used their computers and phones to solicit donations, sending messages to people all over the world. Cadets raised $1,000 within minutes!

IMG_9087At Team First Forte’s meeting February 18, captain Francisco Fletes ’18 said he feels the fundraiser is his first “real marketing job.”

“We are all working together to make this campus better,” Fletes said.

February 19: Cadets have raised more than $10,000 as of noon mess. The showerhead contest standings thus far are as follows: First Place: Echo Company. Second Place: Bravo Company. Third Place: Band Company. Fourth Place: Delta Company. Fifth Place: Charlie Company.

2.18.16_Liriano_Brooks_ECFebruary 22: Total raised: $18,395. Band Company is leading the showerhead competition, followed by Bravo in second and Echo in third. The team closest to having 100 percent of team members raising $250 or more — the prize for which is a pizza party — is Team Maroon & Cadets.

February 23: As of noon mess, cadets have raised a total of $23,345.50 in just one week. Band Company remains in first place in the showerhead competition, followed by Bravo in second and Delta in third. Garrett Stafford was chosen as the raffle winner while Jon Snyder of Team We Will Hold earned a “Genius Idea” prize. Snyder designed a team marketing and fundraising poster that he and his teammates will send to possible donors.

IMG_9435February 26: Cadets have raised $29,225.50 thus far and will continue to seek donations until Tuesday. Team Magnus has stolen the lead in the day trip prize contest from Team We Will Hold, who has held the lead since the competition began. Bravo Company remains in the lead for the showerhead competition. Grand prizes — an $1,000 Amazon gift card, an Apple Watch, a GoPro HERO4 and an Alienware gaming laptop — will be selected via raffle on noon mess Wednesday.

March 2: On the final day of the competition, raffle winners were announced at noon mess. Cadets raised a total of $31,955.50. Bravo Company won the deluxe showerheads, which were installed March 16.

$1000 Amazon Gift Card – Gabriel Perez ‘18
Alienware Gaming Laptop – Russell Holman ‘16
GoPro HER04 – Robert Moore ‘16
Apple Watch – Hector Chapa Gonzalez ‘16

2.18.16_MostThankYouLetters_Mestre_ECABOUT MAROON & GOLD

Since its inception circa 2005, the Annual Maroon and Gold Event has become Missouri Military Academy’s premier fundraising event.   The Maroon and Gold Event will be held on Saturday, April 2, 2016 in the Khorassan Ballroom at the Chase Park Plaza Hotel in St. Louis.  Over the past five years this gala event has doubled in attendance numbers and has raised over $100,000 for improved Academy programs, equipment and cadet life initiatives.

The event annually features the presentation of the Gen. Clifton B. Cates, MMA class of 1910 “I Will Hold” Award for Leadership, which recognizes exceptional leaders who have demonstrated determination, steadfastness and perseverance through times of challenge.

The 2016 “I Will Hold” award recipient is LCDR Eric Greitens, former Navy SEAL and combat veteran who served four tours of duty overseas, including in Afghanistan and Iraq. After coming home, he founded The Mission Continues, a Missouri-based non-profit that helps returning veterans get back on their feet and give back to their communities. In 2014, Fortune Magazine named Eric one of the “World’s 50 Greatest Leaders.” Born and raised in Missouri, Eric attended Missouri public schools, earned a scholarship to college, and went on to become a Rhodes Scholar. He has a black belt in 2.19.16_Mulvey_byECTaekwondo and is an author, marathon runner, and boxing champion.

Those interested in sponsoring the event can contact Kevin Quinn, MMA’s director of development, at; or 573-581-1776 Ext 230. Donors can direct their sponsorship to a particular team or company total.

All alumni and friends of MMA are invited to attend the event. Ticket information can be found on the MMA website:

Valentine Weekend Highlights


Eight cadets and two staffers joined 160 fellow participants and took the Mexico Polar Plunge on February 13 at Plunkett Park.

“A group of cadets took on the challenge of plunging into a cold lake during freezing temperatures,” Jonathan James ’16 said.

12711282_1692471871034231_4954453163730649556_oKiwanis Lake was frozen over except for a small chunk cut out for the Plunge. The temperature high during the Plunge was 22 degrees.
MMA donated $500, which contributed to the weekend’s total donations of $24,000 toward Special Olympics Missouri. SOMO provides a year-round program of sports training and competition for children and adults with intellectual disabilities.

Because I love doing charity fundraisers. JONATHAN JAMES ‘16
I took the Polar Plunge because it was for a good cause. JEREMY ELKINS ‘17

12698395_1692471391034279_7404412611269964716_oHOW DID THE WATER FEEL?
The water was so cold that it stung you. It was a rush of cold that went through your body. JONATHAN JAMES ‘16
The water was definitely below freezing. … After I got out, I couldn’t feel my feet for an hour so it must have been really cold. My whole body went numb after I dunked my head. NOAH WEBSTER ‘18
I think the water was like 1,000,000 degrees below zero. It felt like my whole body was going to freeze! My hair froze and I couldn’t feel my feet or my hands for almost an hour. JEREMY ELKINS ‘17

Yes. It was a lot of fun and we overcame our fears. JONATHAN JAMES ‘16
I might do it again if I get the option to. JEREMY ELKINS ‘17

IMG_1592_hacker_albertsenUKULELE DUO

At the Valentine Ball on February 13, amateur ukulele enthusiasts and MMA sophomores Otto Albertsen and Noah Hacker entertained cadets, staffers and their families with love songs “Can’t Help Falling in Love” and “You and I.”


I first attempted to play the ukulele last year, when a friend lent me his for me to try and play a song I had heard. Winter break 2014 came around and I began teaching myself the acoustic guitar. After falling in love with the instrument, I decided I wanted something a little more portable and easy to take with me anywhere I go. I received a new Córdoba over the 2015 winter break and I have instinctively played it every day since. OTTO ALBERTSEN ’18

I’ve played ukulele for only two months now. My parents got me a ukulele of Christmas for a present and I immediately fell in love with it. I’m basically in love with the sound and style of the ukulele — its tropical, cute and happy tone. NOAH HACKER ‘18


The song I played was called “Can’t Help Falling in Love.” I heard the original by Elvis Presley far before I even picked up a ukulele. I always enjoyed the song but it wasn’t until I heard a cover by my favorite band that I decided I wanted to learn it. OTTO ALBERTSEN ’18

The ukulele song I played was called “You and I.” My mother and I used to listen to the song when I was young. But after years rolled by, I forgot the song existed. I remember hearing the song again on a commercial. It basically was memory lane with the song, so I decided this was the perfect song to play for the dance. NOAH HACKER ‘18

Playing for the Valentines Ball was a good experience, considering it was the first time I had played the uke in front of an audience. I was very nervous leading up to the performance, but
when I stood millimeters away from the mic, I kind of forgot I was even playing. OTTO ALBERTSEN ‘18

IMG_1590_albertsenI felt very nervous at first going up on the stage. I was afraid of people judging me on how I played. But I just decided I’m not going to allow someone’s opinion to affect the things I love the most. I want to motivate people to be themselves for what they love and what they enjoy without people judging them and affecting them. We can’t let people how they think of us effect who we are. NOAH HACKER ‘18 

All kinds of music are my favorite. NOAH HACKER ‘18 


Upcoming Events: Homecoming and Fall Family Weekend

18Don’t miss out on these annual Missouri Military Academy events coming up next month!

Homecoming: October 2 to 4

Alumni, parents, current cadets and MMA community members are invited to “return to your roots” for the 2015 Homecoming celebration in early October.

Homecoming kicks off with alumni events on Friday, October 2. Former cadets are invited to attend an alumni association luncheon and golf outing at the Mexico Country Club, followed by an alumni BBQ and social with a cash bar and live music from the I-70 Overdrive Band.

The festivities will briefly halt for a somber Silver Taps ceremony at twilight. As an announcer reads the name of each MMA community member who passed away during 6_Flores_Salas_Kulas_Morganthe 2014-15 school year, a cadet will shine a light in the deceased individual’s honor. From the vantage point of the bleachers, the letters MMA are revealed on Colonels Field.

Saturday morning begins with a battalion review featuring an Alumni Company march and drilldown competitions pitting former and current cadets against one another. Alumni achievements will be celebrated at the award convocation, followed by a mess formation and march to the dining hall for lunch. A pep rally will proceed the Homecoming football game — the winners of the Homecoming barracks decoration contest will be announced at halftime.

Cadets, alumni, families and community members will gather for the annual Homecoming picnic featuring a cash bar, a historic photo slideshow and music from The SoulRoot Band and alum Maxwell Frederickson ’01.Hendee

Parents or Guests: Register for Homecoming by clicking here.
Alumni: Register for Homecoming by clicking here.

Fall Family Weekend: October 17 to 19

One of the first times for parents and family members to visit cadets, Fall Family Weekend events include: a Scholastic Book Fair, parent/teacher conferences, a pancake breakfast, a State of the School address by President Charles McGeorge, a picnic luncheon, soccer and football games, Parents Committee gatherings, a battalion review and much more.

At the third annual Senior Ring Dance, upperclassmen will formally receive their senior rings. Following the ceremony, guests enjoy a meal, pose for photos with their dates under a larger-_DSC0086than-life ring and then hit the dance floor.

The Passing Through ceremony recognizes the accomplishments of new students, who shake hands with Academy administrators as they are officially christened full members of the Corps of Cadets.

To register for Fall Family Weekend, click here.

Commencement Weekend 2014-15

83_estenik_wei_mcgeorgeCOMPANY COMPETITIVE DRILL

Commencement activities began the morning of May 22 on Colonels Field with the Company Competitive Drill contest. First up was Echo, followed by Delta, Charlie, Bravo and Band companies — each group completed a prescribed set of maneuvers on the drill field and were judged by JROTC and Commandant’s Office staffers.

Echo Company was declared the winner of the competition. Cadets received a trophy and ribbon for their company flag, after which parents mobbed the field to congratulate their sons and pose for photographs.

Following the conclusion of the drill competition, seven members of the Fusiliers (Octavio Gomez ’15, Francisco Fletes ’18, Jose Nachon ’16, Lucas Moore ’18, Oreste Giorgi ’17, Eduardo Gonzalez ’16 and Alberto Avila ’18) took the field to perform individual and group routines.


Sixth, seventh and eighth graders and their teachers celebrated their accomplishments at the middle school final assembly May 22 in the Memorial Chapel.

The ceremony began with a processional, the Pledge of Allegiance and remarks by Director of the Middle School MAJ Edsel Baker, followed by award presentations. Award presenters were Baker, LTC Greg Seibert, CPT John Noel, LTC Willis Kleinsorge and MAJ Paul Petit ’86 of Mission, Texas.

Hal Heyman Plaque: Sky Thunderchild ’19
Derrill S. Kuhlman Award (math/science): Rogelio Coria Lopez ’21
Rotary Service Above Self Award: Sky Thunderchild ’19
Petit Plaque for International Relations: Dongyang Chen ’20 & Martin Farias ’20
Best Squad Leader Award: Zaide Johnson ’19
G. David Bailey Discipline Trophy (fewest disciplinary reports): Santiago Sanchez ’21
Piper Barracks Award (fewest checks): 
Rogelio Coria Lopez ’21 and Jordan Hornick ’20
George Piper Outstanding MS Athlete Award: Christian Cosner ’19
Harris Plaque (soldierly qualities): Elijah Flores ’19
Richard White Improvement Plaque: Jacob Ornstein ’19
Petit Fellowship Plaque: Victor Pablos ’19
Faculty Plaque for Leadership, Cooperation & Loyalty: Eugenio Valdes ’19
Rotary Leaders of Tomorrow Award & $100 stipend: Zaide Johnson ’19 and Rodrigo Santos ’19
Syl Mansfield Memorial Award (ESL) & $100 stipend: Juan Pablo Medrano ’21

Highest Scholarship
6th grade: Rogelio Coria Lopez
7th grade: Jordan Hornick
8th grade: Santiago Ramirez

Delta Phi academic honor society members: Rogelio Coria Lopez ’21, Juan Pablo Medrano ’21; Santiago Sanchez ’21; Eugenio Valdes ’19.

The following cadets maintained a 3.7 GPA for at least one month, receiving Academic Fourragere.

5February: Chandler Bolinger ’19, Rogelio Coria Lopez ’21, Juan Pablo Medrano ’21, Santiago Sanchez ’21.

March: Chandler Bolinger ’19, Rogelio Coria Lopez ’21, Juan Pablo Medrano ’21, Santiago Sanchez ’21, Eugenio Valdes ’19.

April: Rogelio Coria Lopez ’21, Elijah Flores ’19, Luke Greenman ’20, Joseph Herrington ’20, Juan Pablo Medrano ’21, Santiago Sanchez ’21.

May: Rogelio Coria Lopez ’21, George Englehardt ’21, Joseph Herrington ’20, Juan Pablo Medrano ’21, Santiago Sanchez ’21, Eugenio Valdes ’19.

The following 20 students were recognized for maintaining A and B grades for at least one month — almost 56 percent of middle school students were recognized. As of May 22, 50 percent of middle schoolers had a year-to-date GPA of at least 3.0.

6Sixth graders: Robert Abbott (2); Rogelio Coria Lopez (9); George Englehardt (2); Juan Pablo Medrano (6); Santiago Sanchez (6).

Seventh graders: Eric Asbjornson (1); Dongyang Chen (5); Luke Greenman (6); Joseph Herrington (2); Jordan Hornick (7); Michael Naughton (6); Diego Ochoa (1); Nehemiah Simmons (4).

Eighth graders: Chandler Bolinger (7); Christian Cosner (1); Elijah Flores (7); Zaide Johnson (2); Santiago Ramirez (6); Rodrigo Santos (5); Eugenio Valdes (7).

For having maintained a GPA of at least 3.7 for at least three consecutive months, the following students received the Scholarship Medal for Academics.

First Semester: Rogelio Coria Lopez ’21, Santiago Ramirez ’19, Eugenio Valdes ’19.
Second Semester: Rogelio Coria Lopez ’21, Juan Pablo Medrano ’21, Santiago Sanchez ’21.

The assembly ended with the promotion of the 17 eighth grade students to the ninth grade. Cadets and their families were invited to attend a reception in the assembly hall after the ceremony concluded.


The high school final assembly celebrating academic, musical, military and athletic achievements was held May 22 in the Centennial Gymtorium. Accompanied by the MMA Concert Band, the Corps of Cadets marched into place and recited the National Anthem.


IMG_5659_kulasAcademy President Charles McGeorge kicked off the assembly by recognizing faculty and staff members for their contributions to the school.

“These people work for your sons and for the school selflessly and they devote a great deal of time, energy and effort into each one of these young men,” McGeorge said. “[They] really are the reason why these young men are so successful and accomplish so much.”

The following faculty and staff members were recognized for their service to the Academy:

Irene Hard, Laundry Technician, 15 years
Charles Stockdall, Maintenance Technician, 15 years
Dan Burton, Maintenance Technician, 10 years
Jason Jones, Maintenance Technician, 10 years
Cassandra Brooks, Annual Fund Manager, 5 years
Amy Groves, Director of Human Resources and Financial Aid, 5 years
David Higgins, Barracks Mentor, 5 years
CPT John Noel, Athletic Director, 5 years
Gary Stewart, Admissions Counselor, 5 years
Richard VanDuyne, Maintenance Technician, 5 years

Academy librarian CPT Katherine Larison received the Bravo Zulu award, while IT staffer Mike Kulas received the Presidential Gold Star Award.

IMG_5654_larison“Larison is being recognized with a Bravo Zulu Award for her wonderful performance with regard to community service,” McGeorge said. In 2014, the Corps of Cadets amassed 5,888 hours of community service. This year, they totaled 7,457 hours. “Under CPT Larison’s guidance we met and exceeded our community service goal.”

Each cadet is required to complete a minimum of 20 hours of community service in order to graduate to the next grade at MMA.

“We believe very strongly that it is their obligation not only to be a good family member and to give to their family, but to give to their community as well,” McGeorge said, “to be baseball coaches and football coaches and work in their church or at their hospital.”

Director of College Placement MAJ Kevin Farley and Academic Dean Dr. Frank Giuseffi were also recognized “for their splendid performance with regard to college placement and scholarship performance.” Of the 68 graduating seniors, 71 percent were admitted to highly selective colleges.

IMG_5838_elizondo“We want to thank the two of them and recognize them with our Bravo Zulu Award for outstanding performance,” McGeorge said. “Well done!”

Kulas received the Presidential Gold Star Award “in recognition of his personal courage and disregard for self in acting to protect our cadets from possible personal harm.”

“Kulas’ actions on our cadets’ behalf has upheld the highest traditions of the MMA faculty,” McGeorge remarked.62_garciajr


Academic Dean Dr. Frank Giuseffi next took the stage to present the following annual academic awards.

David Whitney 1954 Plaque: John Curley ’16
MAJ William Bryan Medal: Simon Barrera ’15
SEN John C. Danforth Plaque: Jose Garcia ’15
William F. Enright, Jr 1937 Memorial Award: Kane Anderson ’15
SEN Thomas F. Eagleton Plaque for Excellence in Senior English: Octavio Gomez ’15
SEN Thomas F. Eagleton Plaque for Excellence in Junior English: Oscar Cortada ’16
Eugene Lamm Memorial Award (ESL): Rongyang Yi ’18
American Legion Award for Scholastic Excellence, Underclassman: Maverick Jones ’16
Sylvia Mansfield Memorial Award & stipend (ESL): Jesus Villalobos ’16 and Maximiliano Perez ’15

13_giuseffiThe following cadets were also recognized for earning straight As throughout the school year in core college preparatory subjects.

Daniel Amezcua: ESL II
Gerardo Amezcua: ESL II
Kane Anderson: US Government
Mohammad Babak: AP Calculus AB, AP Chemistry, English II Honors, US History
Purevsuren Bayanbaatar: Written Language
John Curley: Biology II, Entrepreneurship
Jose De La Vega: Biology I
Zikun Deng: AP Physics I
Charles Eckardt: Biology II Honors, Chinese II
Jose Garcia: US Government
Octavio Gomez: World History
Nishan Khanal: AP Calculus BC, AP Physics C-Mechanics, Biochemistry, C++ Programming, Visual Basic
MinJun Kim: Geometry
Alexandre McDonald: College Algebra
Kyle Mertens: Algebra II, Biochemistry
Cole Mueller: Economics Honors, English IV, Humanities
Ajay Nemali: Economics
Alex Otti: AP Chemistry
Maximiliano Perez: ESL Science
IMG_5716Gregory Prinster: English II Honors, Geometry
Pablo Rodriguez: ESL II
Jean-Luc Shyaka: Biology I Honors
Damdinbazar Sumiyabazar: US History
Turbold Tumurkhuu: Chinese IV
Gabriel Vallejo: Biology I, Chinese I
Hector Villanueva: English II
Jorge Zamorano: ESL III
Yuchen Zhang: ESL Science


First-year bandmaster WO2 Freddie Lomas next presented the band awards, followed by a performance of Homeward Bound by the MMA Cadet Chorus.

LTC E.R. Jackson Music Award: Gavin Hendee ’15
Streep Brothers Band Award (Senior): Miles O’Keefe ’15
Streep Brothers Band Award (Junior): Robert Moore ’16
Streep Brothers Band Award (Sophomore): Photsavat Pongsuea ’17
COL Paul F. Cherches Memorial Award: Tony Reed Vaughan ’15


Senior Army Instructor CPT Carl Estenik and Army Instructor SFC John Biddle next presented military awards, along with guest presenters including: past president of the Military Officers Association Missouri chapter LTC John Jones, US Army ret.; LTC Denny Pendergrass, US Army ret.; LTCMDR David Christian, US Navy ret.; Alan Heidbreder; SSGT Joshua Greer; and SGT Carol Thompson.

MSGT Billy Crawford Memorial Award: Rodrigo Elizondo ’15
Military Policeman Of The Year: Rodrigo Vilches ’15 (second consecutive year)
Daedalian JROTC Medal: Vincent Burke ’15
Fusilier Of The Year: Francisco Fletes ’18
Best First-Year Fusilier: Alberto Avila ’18
Veteran of Foreign Wars JROTC Award: Nolan Borgsmiller ’15
US Daughters of 1812 Award: Kotaro Kasamatsu ’15
Sons of the American Revolution Medal: Victor Gomez ’15
Military Order of the Purple Heart National Leadership Medal: Enkhbilegt Luvsandorj ’16
Raider of the Year: Juan Cepeda ’18
Special Forces Association Medal for an Outstanding Raider: Oscar Cortada ’16
US Army Recruiting Command Award (academics): Connor Cunningham ’16
US Recruiting Command Award (athletics): Cole Mueller ’15
National Sojourners Award: Rodrigo Padilla ’15
Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War JROTC Award: Jonathan Richardson ’15
American Veterans Medal for Military Excellence: Victor Marroquin ’15
American Veterans Medal for Leadership: David Lazcano ’16
Military Order of the World Wars Award: Ariyandev Sandui ’15
Military Officers Association of America Medal: Adam Schmitz ’15

IMG_6174_harris_noelATHLETIC AWARDS

The following sports awards were presented by Athletic Director CPT John Noel.

Babe Ruth Sportsmanship Award:
D’Cherion Nelson ’15

Joe D. Bailey Award for Most Dedicated
Varsity Athlete: Hugh Harris ’15


Commandant of Cadets LTC Gregory Seibert took the stage to present the following discipline and leadership awards.

Class of 1968 Freshman Leadership Award: Daniel Amezcua ’18
Richard Hall Memorial Award: Logan Byrd ’17
Mentor of the Year: LT Katie South

IMG_5777_deanMeritas Plaque for Excellence in Discipline: Claudio Arias ’15; Naranmandakh Ayulgui ’16; Thomas Dean ’16; Oreste Giorgi ’17; Eduardo Gonzalez ’16; Xiao Liang ’15; Paul Murphy ’20; Gregory Prinster ’17; Diego Quintanilla ’16; Santiago Sanchez ’21.


Following a performance of Best Day of My Life by the MMA Concert Band, Academy President Charles McGeorge took the stage to present the final awards.

AMCSUS Medal: Roger Gonzalez ’15
LT Gov. Joe Maxwell Community Service Award: John Curley ’16
Steve Walker Memorial Award for an Outstanding First-Year Cadet: John Curley ’16
Jack Meyers Class of 1939 Memorial Cup for Most Creative Cadet: Victor Gomez ’15

IMG_6155_mcguire_zhangremingtonDuke of Edinburgh’s Award bronze medalists: Deigo Quintanilla ’16; Damdinbazar Sumiyabazar ’16; Turbold Tuumurkhuu ’16; Jesus Villalobos ’16; Jorge Villarreal ’17.

Duke of Edinburgh’s Award silver medalists: Haoming “Remington” Zhang ’15; Dustin McGuire ’15; Alfonso Leon ’16; Jose Estrada ’16.


The Class of 2015 and their family members gathered in the Memorial Chapel on the evening of May 22 for the Baccalaureate ceremony, a traditional religious event held prior to Commencement.

Chaplain MAJ Edsel Baker led the benediction and delivered the baccalaureate address, playing the song Glory Days faintly in the background as he spoke. Baker compared his experience as a sophomore during the 50th anniversary of his high school to the senior class’ experience as juniors during MMA’s 125th anniversary celebration.

“They were the golden class of Lafayette High School,” he said. This special group could do no wrong, while other classes felt unimportant in comparison.

12_bakerMuch of the rhetoric during his sophomore year touted high school as the “glory days” of life, Baker said. But he disagreed.

“I thought, I’m not buying it,” Baker said. “These aren’t my glory days. I don’t want high school to be my glory days. … I wanted my high school to prepare me for my glory days.”

The “glory days” occur in your careers, at your wedding, as your children are born and grow up, Baker said. The duty of a high school is to give young men and women the tools necessary to change the world with their accomplishments.

“What have we done in this space to prepare you for what comes next?” Baker said, indicating the Chapel in which he spoke. “There is a part of you that’s spiritual. It’s that part that connects with the universe writ large and helps you through your daily life.”

“That spiritual part of you needs things, and hopefully we have equipped you with the things that it needs,” he concluded. “You need a place to be centered and to come back to. And so each Sunday night we gather here to hopefully center you.”

Baker closed the service with a benediction. Hymns throughout the ceremony included For The Beauty of the Earth and Holy, Holy, Holy. Prayers were led by Academic Dean Dr. Frank Giuseffi, and the Cadet Chorus performed Let All The People Say Amen accompanied by MAJ Mike Shoemaker on the drums.

Immediately following the conclusion of the ceremony, seniors and their families walked from the Chapel to the Centennial Gymtorium for the Senior Banquet.

IMG_5915_richardsonSENIOR BANQUET

The senior banquet began with the induction of the Class of 2015 into the MMA Alumni Association. As each senior student’s name was called, his senior portrait and college choice was projected behind him. Each senior crossed the stage, strode under an arch of sabers (held by Kane Anderson’15 and D’Cherion Nelson ’15) and paused for photos at the end of the stage. As every graduate descended the steps, Alumni Association Board President-Elect Jeff Kays ’84 and LTC Paul Gillette ’70 shook hands with him and presented him with an engraved drinking glass.

Up next were toasts to the Academy, the Corps of Cadets and the Class of 2015 led by senior class president Jose Garcia ’15 and Academy President Charles McGeorge. After a short invocation by class cadet council representative Cole Mueller ’15, dinner was served.

Following a buffet dinner of fish and steak, guests viewed the senior video created by the MMA Marketing Department and heard the traditional Class Chronicle, this year delivered by seven-year cadet Tony Reed Vaughan ’15. Vaughan was awarded the Richard Cooper ’82 Plaque for the Longest Tenure by Kays, who delivered his remarks after a bittersweet rendition of See You Again by senior chorus members Zikun Deng and Kotaro Kasamatsu.

According to Kays, a nine-year cadet who served as Battalion Adjutant his senior year, not becoming involved sooner in the MMA Alumni Association was a big mistake.

IMG_6134_kays_vaughan“As you can imagine, I was ready to move on by the time graduation arrived. Actually, I was probably ready to move on by November of 1983. But I stuck with it,” he said.

“Don’t wait for Homecoming. Organize get-togethers with alumni wherever you may be at any time of the year,” he advised the Class of 2015. “You have earned your right to wear the ring. You have earned your right to come back here year after year and stand with the thousands who came before you.”

After Kays’ speech, he joined Gillette and Academy President Charles McGeorge in presenting several senior awards.

Alumni Plaque for the Senior Voted Most Likely to Succeed: Kane Anderson ’15
American Legion Military Excellence Medal: Maxwell Broughton ’15
American Legion Scholastic Excellence Medal: Edmond Biruta ’15
MMA JROTC Distinguished Service Award: Adam Schmitz ’15
William S. Lowe Award: Nolan Borgsmiller ’15
COL Veon McConnell Korean Trophy: Guangning Wei ’15
Plaque for Outstanding MMA Athlete: Hugh Harris ’15
Class of 1984 Unhearalded Leader Award: Edmond Biruta ’15
Dr. Gregory “Doc” McDonald Award: Simon Barrera ’15
COL Jerome G. Harris Cup for Soldierly Qualities: Dustin McGuire ’15

IMG_6064_garciajrJose Garcia ’15 then presented a $2,100 check to McGeorge on behalf of the Class of 2015. The funds, earned through service projects and gifts, will purchase the Academy’s first Academic Mace, which will be used during all academic ceremonies and is symbolic of the school’s authority to confer diplomas.

“That mace will live forever and lead every academic parade [and] every graduation from this point forward,” McGeorge said. “Thank you.”

The ceremony concluded with the singing of Old MMA led by Kasamatsu and a benediction led by Simon Barrera ’15. As cadets and their families exited the gym, they received copies of the local paper The Mexico Ledger featuring formal portraits and the college plans of each graduating senior.


Senior students gathered on the parade field for the final time on the morning of May 23. During this special Battalion Review, Battalion Commander for the 2014-15 school year D’Cherion Nelson ’15 presented incoming BC cadet Mohammad Babak ’16 of Logar, Afghanistan, with the Davison Saber. As the ceremony ended, seniors marched toward the Centennial Gymtorium, their families following suit.

The 2015 Commencement ceremony began as faculty members and seniors performed their traditional march into the Centennial Gymtorium to the tune of Marche Militaire. After the posting of the colors and the Pledge of Allegiance, Academy President Charles McGeorge took the stage to welcome attendees.

16_gonzalezroger“The time that we spent together has focused on your professional resume, your accomplishments as a man, and the building of the future,” McGeorge said.

The President challenged cadets to keep community service, morality and virtue in mind as they enter the next chapter of their lives.

“We have two resumes. We have our professional resume, and then we have our personal resume,” McGeorge said. “What is it that you give back to society? How have you contributed and made your family and your community a better place?”

Chairman of the Board R. Stribling Koster net took the stage to highlight the Academy’s progress during the 2014-15 school year.

“We thank you for your support. Thank you for bringing your sons here,” Koster said. “We thank you for everything you have done to help MMA succeed for not just the last 125 years but hopefully and surely the next 125 as well.”


Middle School Principal MAJ Edsel Baker and Academic Dean Dr. Frank Giuseffi presented the following academic awards.

Stribling Cup for Highest Efficiency in the Middle School: Chandler Bolinger ’19
SEN Christopher S. Bond Award for Outstanding Middle School Underclassman: Rogelio Coria  ’21
Plaque for Highest Scholarship in the Freshman Class: Gabriel Vallejo ’18
Plaque for Highest Scholarship in the Sophomore Class: Gregory Prinster ’17
Plaque for Highest Scholarship in the Junior Class: Nishan Khanal ’16


Following a performance of Battle Hymn of the Republic by the Cadet Chorus, McGeorge once more took the stage to present the following awards.

Heimos Trophy: CSGT Mike Harding
Robert H. Weaver Memorial Award for those who exemplify philanthropic support for MMA: Linda Angel and Robert Moore, parents of cadets Robert and William Moore
Fritsch Plaque and stipend: Mohammad Babak ’16
Dorsey Anderson Class of 1895 Cup: Rodrigo Padilla ’15
Red Ireland Class of 1941 Trophy for a Fighting Heart: Steven Prinster ’15
Mustang Scholars Foundation Plaque: Edmond Biruta ’15
Outstanding Performance by a Company Commander: Victor Marroquin ’15
Don Hooton Class of 1919 Fellowship Cup & Charles I. Wall Cup: Simon Barrera ’15
Legion of Honor: D’Cherion Nelson ’15

M-Club Award: Bravo Company
Highest Athletic Standing: Echo Company
Highest Disciplinary Standing: Charlie Company
Company Spirit Award: Bravo Company
Highest Scholastic Standing: Bravo Company
Highest Military Standing: Company Company
Honor Company: Bravo Company


Academic Dean Dr. Frank Giuseffi next called senior class president and valedictorian Jose Refugio Garcia ’15 to the stage, presenting him with the James C. Olson Award for the Highest Scholarship in the Senior Class. As he took the podium for his remarks, Garcia said he would never have imagined he would be named valedictorian.

“MMA helped me by trial and error to turn my weaknesses into strengths,” he said. “MMA has done the same to all of its cadets.”


Keynote speaker Chancellor of the University of Missouri Dr. R. Bowen Loftin next addressed cadets, relating a few true tales from throughout his career to illustrate his thoughts on leadership.

He began by describing a Gulf of Mexico sailing expedition gone awry in 2008 during his tenure as CEO at Texas A&M University. Six people — four student researchers and two safety officers — set sail. Five returned.

“You’re sleeping and all of a sudden your boat’s upside down, total darkness, and water is coming in rapidly,” Loftin said.

Roger Stone, a 53-year-old father of two, died saving the lives of two students.

“He grabbed the only available life jacket he could find, handed it to one of them and pushed them both out into the sea,” Loftin said.

“Humans like to be loved,” he said. “You have been loved by your parents, your family, your friends, the faculty and staff here at MMA. They love you. But some day as a leader, people won’t love you any more. And that’s a hard thing. It’s a hard thing at my age. It’s a very hard thing at your age.”

Loftin related this somber story to a silent Commencement crowd, connecting it to one of the most important lessons he learned about leadership. He concluded his speech by challenging cadets to remember that the path of a leader isn’t always easy.

“You will be extraordinarily successful in your careers going forward,” Loftin said. “I wish you the very best in your future endeavors. … Congratulations to each of you and best wishes for a very, very bright future.”

After a performance of How To Train Your Dragon by the Concert Band, seniors received their diplomas and walked across the stage, pausing as they descended the steps to pose for a photograph. (Prints can be ordered here.) The ceremony concluded with the singing of Old MMA and the retiring of the colors.


The 126th Corps of Cadets marched from the Gymtorium to the front lawn, forming up for the final moments of their time as cadets at MMA. Family members and friends crowded the roped-off grass, snapping photos as seniors marched to the edge of Teardrop Lake. Upon command by Battalion Commander D’Cherion Nelson ’15, graduating seniors plunged their sabers into the grass, placed their hats upon their hilts, and saluted as the sound of Taps (led by bugler Joshua John ’17) echoed in a round across the silent grounds.

As the final note faded, emotional seniors embraced one another for several minutes, tearfully hugging their brothers. The crowd of family members, faculty and friends flooded the grounds. An hour of tearful goodbyes and hugs followed, as those with early flights broke off and departed campus.

Chief Justice Mary Russell to be next Leach Foundation speaker

russell Missouri Military Academy cadets, faculty and community guests will gather on Thursday, May 8, 2014, at 7:00 p.m. in the Centennial Gymtorium for the third event in the three-part Leach Foundation Speaker Series. Chief Justice Mary R. Russell of the Supreme Court of Missouri will share her insights about the American justice system with attendees.

The Leach Foundation Speaker Series was funded by a grant from the Leach Foundation in Mexico, Missouri, to promote fine arts, entrepreneurship, innovation, technology, cultural awareness, self-reliance and academics. Previous speakers were WUSTL Chancellor Dr. Mark Wrighton and John Beuerlein, a managing partner with Edward Jones Co. As with previous events, the general public is welcome to attend.

Chief Justice Russell was appointed to the Missouri Supreme Court in September 2004 and is currently serving a term that expires in 2018. She previously served as a judge on the Missouri Court of Appeals, Eastern District, from 1995 to 2004 and as its chief judge from 1999 to 2000.

A native of Hannibal, Missouri, Chief Justice Russell earned a Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science, summa cum laude (majors – communications and print media) at Truman State University and a Juris Doctor from the University of Missouri-Columbia School of Law.

Chief Justice Russell actively gives her time to a long list of civic and charitable organizations throughout the state of Missouri and was selected as a Rotarian of the Year in 2007. She is a recipient of several distinguished awards, including the Zonta “Woman of Achievement” award in 2007, Woman of the Year by the Women Lawyers Association of St. Louis in 2007, and the Truman State University Outstanding Alumni Award in 2003.

Valentine’s Day Weekend 2014

image of miss missouriThe Valentine Ball is an MMA tradition that goes back many years and includes the annual appearance by the reigning Miss Missouri. The attendance of Miss Missouri is a special tradition that originated when MMA began hosting the Miss Missouri pageant more than 40 years ago. The Junior Class President has the special honor of escorting Miss Missouri during the evening. This year, Miss Missouri 2013 Shelby Ringdahl, will be on hand to crown the 2014 Valentine Ball Queen who is chosen from among the young ladies escorted by MMA cadets.

The event has special activities that are customary to the formal dances at Missouri Military Academy. MMA follows many customs of a formal military ball.  Guests and cadets are asked to participate in a receiving line at the beginning of the ball where they are introduced to the President and his wife and other school officials and guests. Later in the evening a Grand March is held to formally open the ball, and a crowning ceremony will take place to select the 2014 Valentine Ball Queen.

The formal Valentine’s Ball is free to all attendees and is sponsored and planned by the Junior class.  There is an optional dinner beforehand for which advance tickets must be purchased, a link to make your reservation is provided here.

EVENT SCHEDULE (All events and locations are subject to change)


7:45 – 9:15 a.m. 

Pancake Breakfast: MMA Dining Hall sponsored by the Senior Class. $5 per adult, $2 for cadets and children under 12. You may purchase tickets on site the morning of the breakfast.

8:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. Parent-Teacher Conferences:  Conferences will be held in the Barnard Academic Building with check in at the Barnard Hall atrium.  A website link will be provided later in January to pre-register for your conference times. 

Scholastic Book Fair:  Barnard Hall Library. 

Quartermaster Store:  Barnard Hall Atrium

11:00 a.m. Parent Committee Meeting: Barnard Hall Library

12:15-1:30 p.m. Passing Through Ceremony will be conducted on the front campus and will continue with a military review in the Field House.

1:30 p.m. Mess (Lunch)

1:45 p.m. – 10:30 p.m. Cadets may check out for the evening or overnight with parents with their permission.  Overnight checkout with their own parents only!

6:30 p.m. Valentine Dinner in the Centennial Gymtorium.  Purchase your Valentine’s Dinner tickets here.  We hope you will join us for the dinner, it’s a great time to relax and enjoy a wonderful evening prior to the dance and allows time to visit with your son and his friends. Attendance is not mandatory.

8:00-10:00 p.m. Valentine Ball in the Centennial Gymtorium.  All cadets and their families are welcome and is free of charge for all attendees.  Formal attire is required which includes cocktail dresses, suits or ballgowns for ladies and business suits or tuxedos for men. Cadets will wear their winter dress uniform.  Cadet’s are not required to bring a date although they are welcome to do so at no charge to them, unless they attend dinner beforehand.

A professional photographer will be on site to take photos and their dates and/or their families. Photos will be available for purchase directly from Steve Biggers Photography within a few weeks of the event.  More information will be provided by the photographer at the event.


7:00 a.m. – 6:15 p.m. Cadets are permitted to checkout with their parents.

6:15 p.m. Cadet Check-In

6:30 p.m.  Vespers in the MMA Memorial Chapel. Parents are welcome to attend once their cadets have checked in.

Missouri Military Academy Announces 2014 Summer Programs

Confidence Camp for boys ages 8-11 is added to offerings this year

Missouri Military Academy has announced the agenda for its 2014 summer programs, adding a one-week confidence camp for boys ages 8-11. The camps are held on MMA’s 288-acre campus in Mexico, Missouri.

Summer Leadership Camp cadets complete a back campus obstacle.

Summer Leadership Camp cadets use teamwork to complete a back campus obstacle.

Summer Academy: June 22- July 18, 2014
A four-week, for-credit summer school for students entering grades 7-12. This structured program combines engaging, teacher-intensive classroom work with fun activities that open new horizons to young people – all in a safe, well-supervised environment. Day and boarding programs exist for male students, while female students enroll as day students.

Confidence Camp: July 6-12, 2014
MMA’s Confidence Camp helps boys 8-11 develop a sense of pride in them¬selves and their accomplishments. Focusing on good decision-making and teamwork exercises, the one-week program rewards young men for their progress.

Leadership Camp: July 6-18, 2014
Young men ages 12-17 find new challenges at the two-week Leadership Camp. The program teaches boys to follow as well as to lead, as it helps them to understand the benefits and responsibilities of being a leader. Physical training helps participants unlock their potential, and team-building courses help them to work better alongside their peers.

Director of Summer Programs LTC Greg Seibert, who leads the summer program at MMA and also serves as the Commandant of Cadets during the academic year, hints at an action-filled experience for the summer camps: “This is a great experience for any boy or young man who wants to push himself and grow as a leader. We’ll have fun, too – paintball, rappelling, high ropes, and swimming are just a few of the many activities at both camps.”

For the first time, families can purchase MMA summer camp gift certificates. In anticipation of the holiday season, the Academy is offering a $100 camp discount to those who purchase gift certificates before December 31.

More information can be found at

Missouri Military Academy and Stephens College Partner to Host Guest Speaker Shabana Basij-Rasikh

Rasij-Basikh is co-founder and president of SOLA, School of Leadership, Afghanistan and an internationally known advocate of the education of women in Afghanistan

On Wednesday, October 23, Shabana Basij-Rasikh will present “The Future of Afghan Women” at 7 p.m. in Lela Raney Wood Hall on the campus of Stephens College. The event is free and open to the public.

image of Basij-Rasikh


Shabana Basij-Rasikh is co-founder and president of SOLA, School of Leadership, Afghanistan, a nonprofit that makes education and employment accessible to young Afghan women. SOLA is also the first, and perhaps the only, girls’ boarding school in Afghanistan, where the education of females was illegal during the decades of Taliban rule.

Basij-Rasikh’s work has garnered international attention, and her personal story is compelling.  Cadets and faculty will travel to Columbia to hear the courageous story of her personal struggle to seek an education as a young woman, often disguising herself as a boy to avoid severe punishment by the Taliban.

Basij-Rasikh comes to central Missouri to visit Missouri Military Academy (MMA) in Mexico, where her nephew, a SOLA scholar, attends the college preparatory school as a boarding student. As the second oldest women’s college in the country, Stephens College agreed to host a speaking event on campus in Columbia.

“SOLA’s mission is an important one for women in general and Afghanistan in particular. Through MMA’s 360° Educational model, which focuses on the development of the whole young man, we hope to educate the fathers of the future that will support the active participation of women in every aspect of society. We are proud to support the initiatives and mission of the School of Leadership, Afghanistan.” – MMA President Tony McGeorge

 Shabana Basij-Rasikh – Official Bio

Born and raised in Kabul, Shabana finished high school in the U.S. through the State Department’s Youth Exchange Studies program. She went on to attend Middlebury College, graduating magna cum laude in International Studies and Women & Gender Studies in 2011.

In college, she founded HELA, a non-profit to empower Afghan women through education. She also raised funds across the U.S. to build a high school for girls in her ancestral village, and wells in the outskirts of Kabul. Shabana was selected as one of Glamour® Magazine’s Top 10 College Women in 2010, and received the Vermont Campus Compact 2011 award for outstanding public service. In 2011–12 Shabana was the National Gender Mainstreaming Advisor at the Ministry of Rural Rehabilitation and Development in Kabul.

Shabana co-founded SOLA in 2008 with four students. Today, 23 girls and 2 boys aged 11 to 22 represent all major ethnic groups, religious sects and tribes, and half of Afghan provinces in SOLA’s preparatory program in Kabul. SOLA scholars attend boarding schools, colleges and graduate programs in the U.S. and around the world, including Bates, Loomis Chaffee, Middlebury, Mt. Holyoke, Northfield Mt. Hermon, Smith, and Tufts.

SOLA’s mission is to provide these future leaders of Afghanistan with global educational opportunities so that they can—and will—return home to develop Afghan solutions to Afghan problems. The strength of her vision for advancing Afghanistan, drawing on her personal story and that of the school she founded, have propelled her onto the world stage.

2013 Spring and Annual Athletic Award Ceremony

Spring Sports Banquet | 2013
Missouri Military Academy recently honored it’s spring athletes and teams and presented some annual sports awards at their Spring Sports Banquet.  In attendance were student athletes, coaches, faculty and parents.  It’s a great event that showcases the athletic and academic strengths of our cadets.

The award winners are as follows:


Best Athletic Record – Bravo Company
M Club Trophy- Bravo
Bohm Highest Scholastic Average – Nischal Khanal
McDonough Trophy – Nischal Khanal



MVP – Andres Garcia
Most Improved – David Lozano/ Votor Gomez

Track and Field

Best in Field Events – Leonardo Lozano

Best Runner – DeCharion Owens

MVP – Hugh Harris


MVP – Victor Marroquin

Best 1st Year Player – Victor Marroquin

Most Improved – Emeterio Gomez


Foley Golf Trophy (MVP) – Fernando Lopez

Middle School Track

MVP-Tajae Blue

Most Improved-Tan Pongsuea

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.