Missouri Military Academy celebrates commencement

Missouri Military Academy celebrates commencement
Commencement speaker Sergeant Major Steven McDavid, a decorated U.S. Army Special Forces veteran of the Global War on Terrorism, delivers his keynote speech at MMA's commencement ceremony on May 22. [Submitted photo]

On Saturday, May 22, the 132nd Missouri Military Academy Corps of Cadets participated in high school commencement in Centennial Gymtorium on the Academy’s campus in Mexico, Missouri. Fifty cadets earned their diplomas, with 100 percent achieving college acceptance and the class of 2021 earning nearly $6.5 million in college scholarships.

“From this day forward, you are a member of an elite comradeship,” Sergeant Major Steven McDavid, the J3 Operations directorate senior enlisted leader at Special Operations Command Central, said, addressing the graduates as the keynote speaker. “You have accomplished deeds shared only by a select few … attending a military high school.”

“Just as important as the academic preparation you received at MMA are the core principles that you have developed and will carry forward for the rest of your lives. With care, determination, and a desire to achieve, the cornerstones of leadership that MMA provides, means that the next generation of great, influential leaders sits in this room today,” said McDavid, a 1997 MMA graduate.

The top two cadets in academic standing for the class were recognized during commencement. This year’s salutatorian is Nathaniel Balvanz from Mexico, Missouri. Sun Kit Tsui from Hong Kong, China, earned valedictorian honors and received the Dr. James C. Olson Award for the highest scholarship in the class of 2021.

Following MMA tradition, final formation followed the commencement ceremony. Performed on MMA’s front campus lawn, final formation is one last military assembly for the graduating class, during which the companies are recognized for a final time, before the new members of the MMA alumni brotherhood depart campus.

Following MMA tradition of achieving 100 percent college acceptance for every graduating senior, members of MMA’s Class of 2021 plan to attend such colleges as the University of Notre Dame, Loyola University (Chicago), Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Michigan State University, Rockhurst University, George Washington University and more.

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