Along with academics and individual achievements, leadership is one of the important core values cadets learn at Missouri Military Academy (MMA), a boys’ 6-12 college prep boarding school in Mexico, MO.
Each spring, a process known as “designation” is a much-anticipated opportunity for juniors to earn a prestigious leadership position in their final year at the school. They’re evaluated academically, socially, on their character, and on previous leadership experience. Their selection also hinges on success in a series of unique and challenging requirements, from peer competition and interviews to writing autobiographies and resumes.
This year, something new was added to the experience — a med-evac simulation in which cadets, working in teams, had to “rescue” captured “hostages” and get the wounded out to obtain medical help. It was a demanding and unforgettable experience, but, said Rik Thornton, MMA Director of Cadet Life, “this type of activity imparts critical leadership skills — teamwork, decision making, maturity, and the ability to react swiftly and confidently. With 100% college acceptance, most MMA graduates attend college, not the military, and these skills transfer to any professional career.” MMA’s philosophy — that, in life, there are leaders and followers — means teaching boys to be both.
Cadet Leader Parker Bridge wanted to be an MMA leader since sixth grade; this year he’s a Battalion Executive Officer. “Knowing I can and possibly have changed the lives of other cadets is the best part,” he said. “I’m proud to have helped other young men become the best they can be.”