Parent: David Thibodeaux
Cadet: Matthew David Thibodeaux. Matthew is a senior who is involved in wrestling and plays football. He has been named among the top five running backs in MMA history.
Hometown: Dallas area
MMA parent David Thibodeaux says he took his son Matthew to a military training camp in Alabama around three years ago. David says at the time, Matthew had been struggling at his school in terms of motivation and focus. After returning home from the five-week-long camp, however, David noticed that his son’s attitude and academic performance had improved, and he wondered about the impact that a military school could have on his son. David promptly began investigating military academies and found MMA, which immediately stood out for its emphasis on education and presentation.
“When I visited [MMA], everybody was wearing a tie and white shirts and nice slacks, and I thought, ‘You know what? This is officer material,’” David says. “The whole attitude of the school was more about academics and a scholar more than it was being a tough guy.”
Improving relationships and attitude
Although he and his wife felt as though they were taking the easy way out when they first dropped Matthew off at MMA, David says the school’s discipline and guidance has allowed his son to mature in a way that would not have been possible at home. Before Matthew began attending the Academy, David says he and his son would butt heads and that MMA has eased their relationship immensely.
“I like not having to fight with my son,” David says. “We don’t have that day-to-day grind.”
Recruiting the recruiter
Attending the Academy has allowed Matthew to set goals and hone his focus, especially in looking toward the future, David says. With the guidance of faculty members at MMA, he has had the confidence to pursue a career in aviation, already taking steps toward earning the necessary qualifications.
In fact, after Matthew met with a recruiter for American Airlines, David says he received a call from the owner of a different flight school, who questioned him about Matthew.
“[The owner] said, ‘What’s the name of the school that Matthew’s going to?’” David recalls. “And I said, ‘Missouri Military Academy.’ I said, ‘Why?’ He said, ‘Because he impressed the recruiter so much [that] the recruiter wants to send his son there.’”