Home is where the heart is. Those feelings were expressed by nearly 200 MMA alumni who returned to Mexico, Mo. for the school’s Homecoming celebration Sept. 28-30. Alumni from as far back as the 1940s came from near and far to visit the school that was once – and possibly still is – a home away from home.
Friday – First Glimpses of Campus
Homecoming events kicked off Friday morning at the Mexico Country Club. About 15 alums took an early weekend and enjoyed a scramble golf tournament accompanied by a luncheon. The competitive atmosphere continued to the soccer field Friday afternoon, as a handful of alums challenged the varsity soccer team on the pitch but fell 4-2 to the cadets.
After a busy afternoon of athletics and competition, alumni were treated to a special Homecoming Review. Alumni were invited to inspect the cadets along with MMA president, Mr. Charles A. McGeorge. The long line of alumni spanned Colonels Field as they trooped the line. The alumni were also invited to take part in the presentation of rings to MMA senior cadets. Many said they were honored to be a part of this significant moment. The day concluded with some socializing at the Mexico Country Club for the Alumni Barbeque.
Saturday – A Day of Honor and Remembrance
Saturday was a day of recognition and appreciation for many of MMA’s alums. The day began with the fifth annual donor breakfast, held in Barnard Hall. After updating the donors on the progress MMA has seen in the last year, Mr. McGeorge and Director of Advancement Dan Fowler presented donors with awards to thank them for their generous contributions.
Many of Saturday’s events brought everyone to Colonels Field, beginning with a dress parade. Similar to a review, the dress parade was the first at MMA in recent memory. Following the parade was the alumni drilldown, during which alums headed to the field to see just how much they remember from their time at MMA. Paul Petit ’85 of Mission, Texas won the drilldown. The ten best alums then squared off against the ten best current cadets in the sweepstakes drill, with Carlos Anda ’95 (center below) winning the event.
After some time at Colonels Field, attendees headed to the Centennial Gymtorium for the Alumni Awards Convocation. George Cline ’46, although not able to attend, was presented with the LTC Paul Gillette ’70 Distinguished Alumnus Award, recognizing him for his past contributions and dedication to MMA. The school also recognized two donors for achieving a lifetime giving milestone. Former president and alumnus Charles R. Stribling, III ’44 and his wife Winnie became members of the Legacy Society for their contributions, and R. Stribling Koster and his wife Janie were added to the 1889 Society for their giving.
Alumni then joined cadets by falling into formation and marching to noon mess, with several former band members picking up instruments and playing alongside members of the MMA band. This was yet another chance to relive their MMA experience. After sharing more memories about the mess hall from their days at MMA, the alums made their way back to Colonels Field for the Homecoming football game against Central High School (Kansas City). Despite a defeat on the football field, many alumni recalled their athletic days during the game. During halftime of the football game, Charlie Company accepted the plaque for the Barracks Decorating Contest for the second year in a row, as judged by the alumni wives.
Manager of Alumni Relations and Annual Fund Terry Logue ’72 and outgoing Alumni Association president Dave Telford ’65 also announced the induction of the undefeated, state runner-up 1992 MMA tennis team. Because Walt Diehl, the coach in 1992, was unable to attend Homecoming, Logue and Telford accepted the award on his behalf.
Hats, t-shirts, and jackets flew off the shelves at the Quartermaster’s souvenir tent as alums were eager to show their support once again. The cool, crisp fall weather made for a very pleasant afternoon of football.
Saturday concluded with a dinner and dance at the Mexico Elks Lodge. Former MMA Alumni Association president Telford, of Omaha, Neb., installed Jesus Soriano ’82, of O’Fallon, Mo. as the 2012-2013 president of the association for the next year.
The Class of 1992 proudly accepted the Class of ’55 plaque for attendance and philanthropy, raising the most contributions during Homecoming weekend.
Sunday – Wrapping Up the Weekend
On Sunday, Soriano was honored as the new MMA Alumni Association President during Review. One unique part of this year’s Homecoming festivities included a review at the Mexico, Mo. community’s local festival, Walk Back in Time, at the Audrain County Historical Society. Cadets showcased the review to community members and veterans.
Tom Reynolds ’61 of Bellefontaine, Ohio was the alumni speaker at evening Vespers.
Many alumni stayed for the duration of Homecoming and took part in events that jogged their memories of their days at MMA. Some came from nearby Mexico, Mo., and others came from as far as Thailand. They shared laughs, their MMA pride, took time to honor other alums, and even had a few tears. But perhaps most importantly, they were able to return to a place many still consider a second home.