On Saturday, May 22, the 132nd Missouri Military Academy Corps of Cadets participated in high school commencement in Centennial Gymtorium on the Academy’s campus in Mexico, Missouri. Fifty cadets earned their diplomas, with 100% achieving college acceptance and the Class of 2021 earning nearly $6.5 million in college scholarships. Watch the commencement ceremony here or view and download photos here.
“From this day forward, you are a member of an elite comradeship,” Sergeant Major Steven McDavid, the J3 Operations Directorate Senior Enlisted Leader at Special Operations Command Central, said, addressing the graduates as the keynote speaker. “You have accomplished deeds shared only by a select few … attending a military high school.”
“Just as important as the academic preparation you received at MMA are the core principles that you have developed and will carry forward for the rest of your lives. With care, determination, and a desire to achieve, the cornerstones of leadership that MMA provides, means that the next generation of great, influential leaders sits in this room today,” said McDavid, a 1997 MMA graduate.
The commencement ceremony included several award presentations:
- The Dick Abbott, Bob Albright Class of 1949 Faculty Award for Excellence in Teaching, awarded to the outstanding teacher for 2019-2020 school year, presented to Mr. Mike Pemberton.
- The Robert H. Weaver Class of 1975 Award, recognizing those who best exemplify unconditional effort on behalf of the Academy and corps of cadets, with unceasing drive and commitment in bettering life at the Academy for the corps of cadets, presented to Erin Schreyer.
- The M-Club Company Award goes to the company having the most athletes lettering in two sports and was presented to Bravo Company. The company recognized with the highest athletic standing was Delta Company. The company recognized with the highest disciplinary standing was Charlie Company.
- The Thomas R. Wiles Company Spirit Award, given in honor of former senior army instructor and Vietnam War Veteran Cpt. Thomas R. Wiles, was presented to Charlie Company. The company recognized with the highest scholastic standing was Band Company. The company recognized with the highest military standing was Delta Company.
- The Honor Company for 2020-2021 is Charlie Company.
- The Dorsey Anderson Class of 1895 Cup for the Cadet Exerting the Most Gentlemanly Example was awarded to Bryce Bowen.
- The Don Hooton, Class of 1919 Fellowship Cup, recognizing the cadet senior considered most valuable to the institution, was awarded to Dhalil Belko.
- The Charles I. Wall Cup, in honor of “Stony” Wall, Class of 1922, the second-highest leadership award given, is awarded to a cadet who best typifies those ideals of character, leadership, scholarship and service upon which the Academy was founded. This year this was awarded to Fernando Afane.
- First awarded in 1918, the Legion of Honor is the highest award which can be given to a cadet who demonstrates industry, integrity, leadership and loyalty to MMA. The 2021 recipient this year was Sun Kit Tsui.
- The top two cadets in academic standing for the class were also recognized. This year’s salutatorian is Nathaniel Balvanz. Sun Kit Tsui earned valedictorian honors and received the Dr. James C. Olson Award, donated by the former University of Missouri president, for the highest scholarship in the Class of 2021.
Following MMA tradition, Final Formation followed the commencement ceremony. Performed on MMA’s front campus lawn, Final Formation is one last military assembly for the graduating class, during which the companies are recognized for a final time, before the new members of the MMA alumni brotherhood depart campus.