Addressing the graduating class for the 133rd Missouri Military Academy (MMA) Corps of Cadets on commencement day, May 21, 2022, Chief of Staff for the Diplomatic Security Service (DSS) Lawrence "Kwakou" Casselle, a 1993 MMA graduate, offered these opening words: “You are not going to believe where your MMA ring is going to take you.”
Thirty-nine seniors and two post-grads took part in the commencement ceremonies, all having achieved college acceptance. The Class of 2022 has been offered more than $4.1 million in college scholarships. These new high school graduates will attend such schools as Northwestern University, Syracuse University, The Citadel, University of Missouri-Columbia, University of Arkansas, and more. Six cadets have also chosen to enter U.S. military service.
“What MMA gave me nearly 3 decades ago, and has given you, are the tools to succeed in life,” Casselle said. “I assure each one of you that what you have learned here will serve you long after you have stood your Final Formation.”
Chief of Staff for the Diplomatic Security Service Lawrence "Kwakou" Casselle, a 1993 MMA graduate, addresses the Class of 2022.
From MMA to the U.S. Army – service that took him from Fort Benning, Georgia, to Belize to Ranger School – to serving on the security detail in Iraq for then Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Casselle shared insights into how his MMA education prepared him for life and career. Today he serves as Chief of Staff to the Assistant Secretary of State for Diplomatic Security. In this role, he acts as principal advisor to the Assistant Secretary and helps manage the State Department’s largest bureau. Before that, he served as Director for Counterterrorism at the National Security Council, Executive Office of the President at the White House.
“You graduate today with more than a high school diploma. You have MMA’s core values as a solid foundation to take command of your future. You are equipped to be independent and critical thinkers, with the ability to overcome adversity and the power of self-discipline and the MMA brotherhood,” said MMA President Brigadier General Richard V. Geraci, USA (Ret) to the graduating class. “Your graduation from MMA is a significant benchmark in your life’s journey. We are tremendously proud of you and confident in your ability to achieve every goal you set for yourself.”
During the commencement ceremony, Cadet Lance Newland from Folsom, California, was recognized valedictorian and received the Dr. James C. Olson Award, named after the former University of Missouri president and the Academy’s highest scholarship award. Cadet Rene Garcia Garza from Cadereyta Jimenez, Nuevo Leon, México, was recognized as salutatorian. Newland plans to attend Syracuse University in fall 2022, and Garcia Garza plans to attend Tecnológico de Monterrey.
Class of 2022 Valedictorian Lance Newland
MMA Corps of Cadets’ company awards included awards for the company with the highest disciplinary standing, Band Company; the company with the highest athletic standing, Delta Company; and the company the highest scholastic standing, Bravo Company with an average grade point of 3.34. Bravo Company was also recognized as the 2021-22 Honor Company.
On behalf of Bravo Company, Cadets Yu-Jen Tong, Nathaniel Bowman, William Cash and Jack Stalnaker accept the award for Honor Company from President Geraci.
Additional award presentations included the recognition of Spanish instructor Joshua Allison as the 2021-22 recipient of the Dick Abbott, Bob Albright Class of 1949 Faculty Award for Excellence in Teaching.
MMA parents Erin and Ed Schreyer received the Robert Weaver Memorial Award, awarded for best exemplifying unconditional philanthropic effort on behalf of the Academy and the MMA Corps of Cadets. President of the MMA Parents Committee at Missouri Military Academy from August 2019 through May 2022, Erin Schreyer also received the Order of St. George Award which recognizes an individual who has distinguished themselves through superior acts of selfless service, courage, accomplishment, professional performance, meritorious service, honor or character.
MMA parents Erin and Ed Schreyer accept the Robert Weaver Memorial Award from President Geraci.
Nathaniel Lockett, from Dickinson, Texas, receives his diploma from President Geraci.
President Geraci congratulates new graduate Tadeo Garza from Monterrey, Nuevo Leon, México.
Following MMA tradition, the 2021-22 corps conducted their final formation on MMA’s front campus following the commencement ceremony.
Below, see photos from Final Formation.
See photos from all commencement activities on MMA's Flickr account.