Massanutten Military Academy - Review #3

Read more details about Massanutten Military Academy on their 2018-19 profile page.
Massanutten Military Academy
5

About the Author:

College EnrolledSusquehanna University
Home Town, State Bethesda, MD
Years Attended Boarding School3
Activities During Boarding SchoolMarching Band, Ensemble, Drum Major,Football, Soccer (co-captain), weight training, 1000 merit club, President's Club (Academics), Company Commander with Rank of Major. Other high honor awards...Chicago Tribune, Commandant's Award and several others that I cannot remember.

Reflections and Advice:

1.) What do you think makes your school unique relative to other boarding schools?
The JROTC program provides clearly defined rules, structure and pathway to success. Proudly wearing a uniform levels social strata and thus allows students to distinguish themselves through exceptional behaviors and performance in all aspects of the school. Exceptionally positive accomplishments are recognized by ribbons, medals, rank, leadership, etc. This recognition helps to build self confidence and trust in a student's abilities.The culture that exists today, in a word, "family". The cadets truly care about one another as evidenced by zero tolerance for any sort of bullying, happily lending a hand or moral support and encouragement to their peers. MMA is a safe place to learn and grow.
2.) What was the best thing that happened to you in boarding school?
"If it were not for MMA, I would not be where I am today". MMAMMAI often her this for current students as well alumni. MMA has been changing lives for the better for 119 years. The school and it programs administered by a deeply committed and caring team of faculty and staff have enabled young people achieve their potential. For most, the short term is college for which they are well prepared. For me, I found myself at MMA and the sky has been the limit since graduation. If it had not been for my grandmother's support and encouragement, I probably would never have gotten off the ground.
3.) What might you have done differently during your boarding school experience?
I'm not sure I would have done anything differently. I went to the school fully embracing it as an opportunity to reinvent myself into the person that I wanted to be. My advice to any new student would be to quickly learn the rules and comply with them. Life is very good for a student that follows the rules. In doing so you will earn freedoms, respect, be provided leadership opportunities and you can focus on your studies and other areas of interest. There are consequences for failure to follow the rules and I see that as a total waste of one's time being engaged in nonproductive activities. Just like in life.
4.) What did you like most about your school?
The experience was demanding but supremely rewarding. Not sure there was a "most". Upon reflection, it was the collective experiences that prepared me for my next steps in life.
5.) Do you have any final words of wisdom for visiting or incoming students to your school?
Final advice to parents and students alike. There are no guarantees of success. MMA has proven programs administered by deeply caring professionals but the student must be willing to work diligently to reap the rewards. Students and their families, perhaps, should view attending MMA as a partnership. As in any partnership, each partner has a role to fulfill and if they do the results will exceed the expectation.Even though I graduated 51 years ago, I continue to be meaningfully involved to ensure the school continues to meet its mission such that young people get the tools for a successful life that I acquired by attending MMA. For me it is a debt owed. My satisfaction comes from watching our students thrive.

Academics:

1.) Describe the academics at your school - what did you like most about it?
Excellent teachers that clearly loved teaching (not just a job.) Small classes so I felt valued as a student and had a relationship with all of my teachers. In public school, I fared very poorly. Totally opposite experience at MMA. Learned that, if I applied myself, I could actually learn. After class mandatory study hall provided structure and environment focused on study. Looking back, we created study groups among our peers living in the dorms that made learning fun. Kids being kids..we then competed to see who could get the best grades. Yes, it was challenging but I have learned in life, "the more you have to do, the more you will do". Our generation learned by reading, lecture, taking notes and memorization. Today, MMA's approach to education is that of experiential learning. All classes are taught using methods that engage the students in critical thinking, collaboration with one another, and practical application or participation in activities related to the lessons. These techniques proved to be so successful in the STEM classes that it has now been expanded to all classes. All the teachers have received training and are required to deliver their lessons in this manner. It is exciting to watch our students happily learning in this manner. (Not having to learn but wanting to learn) The Military structure does not tolerate disruptive behaviors in the classroom.

Athletics:

1.) Describe the athletics at your school - what did you like most about it?
The most significant difference between MMA's athletic program and a larger school is due to the small size of the school, everyone gets to participate on any team that they are on. For a school of this size, the opportunities for sports offered are amazing. Every student is required to participate in a sport of their choosing recognizing the importance of building both mind and body.When I was at the school, Varsity Football was our signature sport. Today it is basketball. Like the former football program, basketball now brings national and international attention the successful program and provides all of the cadets an opportunity to proud of their school.

Art, Music, and Theatre:

1.) Describe the arts program at your school - what did you like most about it?
In recent years, budget issues have caused many public schools to drop or ask the students to pay for any extracurricular arts participation. MMA has invested in the fine arts and has a newly renovated facility to house its music and arts programs.Each year, the students have a talent show for students, faculty, parents, alumni and guests when they showcase their diverse talents. During that day, the students perform a drama production and have a band concert.

Extracurricular Opportunities:

1.) Describe the extracurriculars offered at your school - what did you like most about it?
Unlike in my day, today's students are required to participate in community service activities in which they learn the importance of the school's motto which translates to "Not for ourselves alone".Today we have many clubs in addition to Service, such as radio broadcast, chess, yearbook, boy scouts, Bible study and technology.

Dorm Life:

1.) Describe the dorm life in your school - what did you like most about it?
Dorm Life is an important aspect of a boarding school. We lived, studied, slept, made deep friendships and in a large part we figured out how to be self reliant as well as how to live with others. At MMA, each student must keep both their room and public areas clean and presentable. All good life skills.Today, we have kids from 8 countries and 11 states. The diverse community in which they live prepares them for the world in which we live today. Just think of the cultures, races, languages, and religions that are represented and how they must learn to respect one another's differences and at the root, they learn just how much they are the same. Colleges recognize how well prepared our graduates are for success as a part of their student bodies and as such seek our graduates and offer them substantial scholarships.

Dining:

1.) Describe the dining arrangements at your school.
As a cadet at MMA, we dined family style. Nice that we had waiters (students on scholarship) but you ate what you were served or you went hungry. Today, our students are served a variety of offerings cafeteria style supplemented by a generous full salad bar.

Social and Town Life:

1.) Describe the school's town and surrounding area.
The town today, remains much as it was when I attended. Small historic town with simple basics. Soda fountain, drug store, movie theater, ice cream shop and a few restaurants except there is now a Walmart within walking distance surrounded by fast food restaurants. Woodstock still remains a safe place with a strong sense of family and community.
2.) Describe the social life at your school - what did you like most about it?
Again, social life is much different today than when I attended MMA. The primary difference is that it is now co-ed with a third of the Corps being female. The Activity Center provides a place for social gathering. Big screen TVs, pool tables, snack bar, etc. Even though a Military School, the cadets participate in all the traditional high school activities such as homecoming, military ball (prom), on campus dances and the like. Female students typically abandon their uniforms and replace them with lovely gowns for these special occasions.Additionally, our students march in various parades in the Valley, attend sporting events, and enjoy many services activities with one another.

Daily Schedule:

Weekday
12:00 PMLunch
Weekend
10:00 AMInspection and Parade
Read more details about Massanutten Military Academy on their 2018-19 profile page.

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