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2017 Commencement Weekend

MS FINAL ASSEMBLY & COMPANY COMPETITIVE DRILL
 
Commencement continued on Friday, May 26 with the Company Competitive Drill. Each company completed a prescribed set of maneuvers on the drill field and were judged by JROTC instructor SFC John Biddle and LTC Gregory Seibert. Band Company was declared the Best Drilled Company for the 2016-17 school year.
 
Following the Competitive Drill, seventh and eighth grade cadets and their families gathered in the Memorial Chapel for the Middle School Final Assembly.
 
Interim Dean Edsel Baker first took the podium, lauding cadets for their participation in the middle and high school band and orchestra as well as their community service contributions.
 
“The cadets have put in more than 336 hours this year in community service,” Baker said.
 
Several staffers then took the stage to present discipline, military, principal and science fair awards. Presenters included: Interim Dean Edsel Baker, science instructor LTC Willis Kleinsorge; Adjutant COL (Ret.) Rick Grabowski, USMC. For a full list of awards, click here.
 
Core subject instructors Steven Manning, LTC Willis Kleinsorge, Kevin Bissmeyer and Christine Beshears also presented Academic Distinction certificates to a handful of students in their respective classes. Distinctions are presented to students demonstrating genuine interest, consistent class participation and high grades throughout the school year.
 
English: Scout Jones, Peter Casella
Math: Felix Tonella, Jiachen Yan
Science: Scout Jones, Peter Casella, Jiachen Yan
Social Studies: Victor Vielledent, Jose Karam
 
Baker also recognized cadets who maintained A and B grades in all classes for one or more marking periods.
 
All Marking Periods: Peter Casella, Felix Tonella, Victor Vielledent, Jiachen Yan
 
Five Marking Periods: Jose Karam
 
One to Three Marking Periods: Mario Garcia, Patricio Valdes, Scout Jones, Tamar Modise, Tristen Mason, Max Pitman

The assembly concluded with the recognition and graduation of ten eighth grade cadets and a small reception held in Delta barracks for the graduates and their parents.
 
HIGH SCHOOL FINAL ASSEMBLY
 
As middle school students and their families gathered in the Memorial Chapel, freshman through senior students and their families attended the High School Final Assembly. Accompanied by the MMA Band, the Corps of Cadets marched into the Centennial Gymtorium and recited the National Anthem before taking their seats.
 
Academy President Charles McGeorge addressed the crowd before the presentation of staff, music, military, athletic, disciplinary, leadership, academy and principal awards. Presenters included: McGeorge; Bandmaster WO2 (Ret.) Freddie Lomas, RM; Army Instructor SFC (Ret.) John Biddle, USA; and Interim Athletic Director Juan Garcia. For a full list of awards, click here.
 
SENIOR BACCALAUREATE & BANQUET
 
Following the Baccalaureate ceremony in the Memorial Chapel, seniors and their families headed to the Centennial Gymtorium for the 34th annual Senior Banquet.
 
One by one, each senior stepped through an arch of sabers for the final time, then descended the stage and was formally inducted into the MMA Alumni Association. Each senior’s name, college choice and photograph were projected as he crossed the stage.
 
After each senior student crossed the stage, toasts were led by Academy President Charles McGeorge and cadets. Following dinner, Sean Fitzgerald delivered the traditional Class Chronicle speech.
 
Up next was a senior slideshow featuring photographs of each member of the Class of 2017, after which Alumni Association President Todd Helm ’80 took the podium to offer advice submitted by fellow alums via social media.
 
Followed by the presentation of several senior awards, the banquet concluded with the singing of Old MMA led by Cadet Chorus member senior Antonio Montes and a benediction led by senior Ngoga Julien Mugabo. For a full list of awards, click here.
 
SENIOR REVIEW & COMMENCEMENT CEREMONY

Senior students gathered on the parade field for the final time on the morning of May 27. Following the trooping of the line, incoming Battalion Commander Victor Arturo Leon received the Davison Saber from graduating Battalion Commander Alejandro Gastelum. Leon then officially took command of the MMA Corps of Cadets for the 2017-2018 school year.

As the ceremony ended, cadets seniors marched toward the Centennial Gymtorium with their families following suit.

The 2017 Commencement ceremony began as faculty members and seniors performed their traditional march into the Centennial Gymtorium to the tune of Marche Militaire. Leading the procession was LTC Willis Kleinsorge with the Class of 2015 Mace. After the posting of the colors and the Pledge of Allegiance, Academy President Charles McGeorge took the stage to welcome attendees.
 
Several company, academic, middle school and principal awards were presented by Academy staffers as well as representatives of organizations including the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War, Special Forces Association and Sons of the American Revolution. For a full list of awards, click here.
 
Class President Gabriel Elizondo ’17 then took the stage to present the 2017 senior class gift: a donation of $1,163 toward the purchase of a gold eagle and flagpole set in the Memorial Chapel.

After receiving the Dr. James C. Olson Award for the Highest Scholarship in the Class of 2016, valedictorian Gregory Prinster took the stage to present his remarks. He was followed by commencement speaker Major General Byron S. Bagby, USA (Retired).
 
Entertainment throughout the ceremony included performances of Imagine (John Lennon) and Summertime (George Gershwin) as well as Procession of the Nobles (Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov) by the Concert Band.

The ceremony culminated in the presentation of diplomas to each student, who walked across the stage, pausing to pose for a photographs. The ceremony concluded with the singing of Old MMA and the retiring of the colors.

FINAL FORMATION

The 128th Corps of Cadets marched from the Gymtorium to the front lawn, forming up for the final moments of their time as cadets at MMA. Family members and friends crowded the roped-off grass, snapping photos as seniors marched to the edge of Teardrop Lake. Upon command by Battalion Commander Alejandro Gastelum, graduating seniors plunged their sabers into the grass, placed their hats upon their hilts, and saluted as the sound of Taps (led by bugler Mitchell Duing) echoed across the silent grounds.

As the final note faded, emotional seniors embraced one another for several minutes, tearfully hugging their brothers. The crowd of family members, faculty and friends soon flooded the grounds. A period of tearful goodbyes and hugs followed, as those with early flights home broke off and departed campus.