HARLINGEN – MMA Superintendent Col. R. Glen Hill looked up into the auditorium to welcome the Marine Military Academy’s newest cadets.
Most of the cadets had their head’s shaved and all of them were in military uniform.
He was speaking to a small audience in an auditorium capable of seating hundreds of guests.
The cadets only filled up seven rows of a section.
One might think the enrollment of the new cadets seems low, but others may see it just as the U.S Marine slogan describes.
“Only the few, the brave, the Marines.”
Not everyone becomes a U.S. Marine and the same rings true for MMA students.
The school is modeled after the U.S. Marine Corps military branch to prepare future Marines.
And more than 100 young men from across the country and around the world arrived at Marine Military Academy Aug. 11 to join the school’s Corps of Cadets.
For new students and returning cadets alike, MMA will be both their school and home for the next nine months. Classes begin tomorrow.
“We are excited about the new school year,” said MMA Superintendent Col. R. Glenn Hill. “We have cadets not only from across the United States but from around the world.”
New students who didn’t attend MMA’s summer camp are classified as “plebes.” They must go through four weeks of introductory training before becoming official members of the MMA Corps of Cadets.
After check in, plebes immediately started their training and received a head shaving. In addition to adjusting to a new school and a life away from home, a plebe must quickly learn the military regimen, rules and regulations, drill, uniforms and proper dress, Marine Corps history and much more.
Whether a boy is a plebe or cadet, the daily routine at MMA is significantly more demanding than an average day school or boarding school.
MMA students wake up at 6 a.m. and follow a 16-hour schedule that includes morning exercise, classes, tutorials, sports or activities, and an evening study time — a schedule that keeps them well occupied until they go to bed at 10 p.m.
On the weekends, plebes head to a highly physical training complex called the MMA Back 40 and participate in numerous outdoor challenges, such as rappelling, high-wall climbing and mud crawling.
MMA students also live in a distraction-free environment. They may only leave the campus on the weekends, and they may only use their mobile phones on the weekends.
“We provide them a unique educational opportunity and more importantly the opportunity to learn to live and work with young men from different cultures, races and ethnical backgrounds,” Hill said. “This is essential for them to develop into team members and future leaders.”