HARLINGEN — Happy Birthday!

Marine Military Academy has been training leaders for 53 years, and the boarding school is celebrating in grand style. Yesterday the school, which accepts students from throughout the world, held a parade for the public in honor of those many years of service.

Tonight a gala ball will be held for cadets, their families and other invited guests to celebrate MMA and another time-honored tradition.

“That’s when we celebrate the Marine Corps and MMA’s birthday,” said Ramon Rodriguez, public affairs officer for MMA.

“This is the 243rd anniversary of the Marine Corps,” Rodriguez said. “We do this every year. This is the way we celebrate the Marine Corps. We honor the men and women that have served.”

It’s also a way of celebrating MMA cadets.

“In those 53 years we’ve graduated thousands of leaders,” Rodriguez said.

For the most part, MMA hasn’t changed that much over the years.

“We still hold true to the values and traditions of the Marine Corps,” he said. “The technology has come along and we’ve modified according to the times, but we’re still a very structured military boarding school.”

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FACTS ABOUT THE U.S. MARINE CORPS

On Nov. 10, 1775, the Second Continental Congress established the Continental Marines, which would eventually be called the U.S. Marine Corps.

The Marine Military Academy was founded in 1965. It is a private boarding school for boys in grades 7 – 12. It’s located at 320 Ima Jima Boulevard.