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Cadet Leaders Become the Best They Can Be

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.”

Does your school do something similar?

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