Missouri Military Academy’s (MMA) Class of 2023 — the Academy’s 134th graduating class — celebrated commencement on Saturday, May 20, 2023, at 10 a.m. in Centennial Gymtorium. The class, which includes 33 seniors and 2 postgraduate cadets, has been offered more than $5.2 million in college scholarships and every graduating cadet has achieved college acceptance.
Above, Missouri Military Academy graduates Batkhuu Bataa from Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, and Pablo Belmonte Gutiérrez from Guadalajara, Jalisco, México, congratulate each other after receiving their diplomas. Approximately 25% of MMA’s cadets hail from outside of the United States.
MMA President Brigadier General Richard V. Geraci, USA (Ret), congratulated the class on their achievements.
“You graduate today with more than a high school diploma; you have MMA’s core values as a solid foundation, to guide you in your life’s journey. You are equipped with the ability to overcome adversity, the power of self-discipline, and the MMA brotherhood — a bond of love and trust that will keep you connected and supporting each other for the rest of your lives,” Geraci said.
He also encouraged the graduates to maintain the high standards that they learned to live by at MMA.
Above, MMA Class of 2023 senior class president Kellan Mugisha receives his diplomat from MMA President Geraci.
During the commencement ceremony, Cadet Anthony Melick from Overland Park, Kansas, was recognized as valedictorian. Cadet Gage Blanton from Newburg, Missouri, was recognized as salutatorian. Valedictorian Melick has been accepted to the U.S. Naval Academy, and salutatorian Blanton has been awarded a full-ride, four-year Army ROTC scholarship to the University of Missouri.
“As I look upon the graduating class of 2023, I know that I am looking at a hardworking group that is set up for success in a generation where hard work is less frequent. The experience you have gained from MMA puts you ahead of many others your age,” Melick said to his fellow graduates in his valedictorian’s address. “It is up to you and only you to capitalize on the advantages you have earned as a cadet … I encourage all of you to apply yourselves, utilize the skills that MMA has taught you, and live a life based around the three words that make up MMA’s motto: ‘Love, Honor, Truth.’”
Above, Missouri Military Academy Class of 2023 valedictorian Anthony Melick addresses his fellow graduates during commencement on Saturday, May 20, 2023, in Centennial Gymtorium on MMA’s campus.
Among the class’s notable achievements, three cadets received nominations to U.S. service academies. In addition to Melick’s appointment to the U.S. Naval Academy, Cadet Lucas Sydlewski will attend the United States Military Prep School. Other cadets from the Class of 2023 will attend schools such as University of Notre Dame, Missouri University of Science and Technology, Texas Tech University, Saint Louis University, Kansas State University, and more.
An MMA 1993 graduate, U.S. Navy veteran, and MMA deputy commandant for support and quartermaster, commencement speaker Richard Dehlinger addressed the Class of 2023 and shared his perspective as alumnus and coach for the MMA’s national championship Fusileer Drill Team.
Dehlinger reminded the class that MMA is more than a school.
“Graduating from Missouri Military Academy comes with more than just a piece of paper … MMA molded your foundation,” he said. “Take all that you learned here at the Academy and go out into the world and make it a better place.”
Above, Dehlinger addresses the Class of 2023 during commencement.
Following MMA tradition, the corps conducted final formation on MMA’s front campus directly following the commencement ceremony.
Above, new Missouri Military Academy graduates celebrate during the Final Formation for the 134th MMA Corps of Cadets.