Feature photo: The Missouri Military Academy Corps of Cadets annually marches in the Soybean Festival Parade (photo from Sept. 2022).
The Mexico Area Chamber of Commerce will honor Missouri Military Academy with the 2023 Commerce and Industry Award at the 38th annual Commerce and Industry Appreciation Dinner on Thursday, Oct. 19, 2023. The Mexico Chamber annually presents this award to recognize local organizations for their outstanding civic responsibility and generous contributions to advance the growth and welfare of Mexico, Missouri.
“We are honored,” said MMA President Brigadier General Richard V. Geraci, USA (Ret). “This recognition is clearly based on the hard work of our loyal employees — a great group of directors, faculty, staff, coaches and company leadership advisors. Their work to lead, educate and care for our cadets creates the positive effects that extend out into the community. We are grateful for this award and for the strong relationships we have with the people of Mexico, local businesses and churches.”
Founded in 1889 through the support of the Mexico community, MMA has positively impacted the lives of thousands of young men through its premier, college-preparatory, military boarding education. The Academy’s rigorous program empowers young men in grades 7 through 12, plus post-graduate, to reach their potential as future college graduates, citizens of character, and leaders in their communities. MMA’s 360˚ Education® fosters academic excellence, a healthy lifestyle and physical development, leadership and life skills, positive character development, and personal motivation.
The community of Mexico was instrumental in the founding of the Academy. They wanted a local academy to offer classical education for boys, set a standard of academic excellence, and provide learning with an emphasis on discipline. Community members provided financial support for the construction of the Academy, setting in motion a partnership that has brought substantial rewards to both the Academy’s cadets and to the community. Today, MMA encompasses 288 acres with 316,063 sq. ft. of building space.
“Missouri Military Academy has been an asset for the City of Mexico for over 130 years. The economic impact of the employees, students, alumni and family is significant in advancing the growth and welfare of Mexico,” said Economic Development Director of City of Mexico Amy O’Brien. “It feels great to recognize them as the 2023 Commerce and Industry Award winner.”
In Nov. 2022, local 4H students visited Missouri Military Academy to learn flag etiquette from the MMA Color Guard.
Ranked by Niche.com as among the 2023 Best Private Schools in America, MMA educates young men from across the nation and around the world. The 2022-23 corps of cadets hailed from 10 countries and 27 states. Each semester, MMA cadets volunteer to support many local organizations and schools and attend local churches, and O’Brien cited the benefit this interaction brings to Mexico, giving residents opportunities to experience diversity in ethnicity and culture not often found in small rural communities.
MMA cadets also participate in several community events yearly, such as the Soybean Festival Parade, Martin Luther King Jr. Day, and the Tyronn Lue Day of Service.
“Our cadets look forward to participating in community events,” Geraci said. “As an Academy, we consider these important events as opportunities for growth for our cadets and to give back to the people of Mexico.”
MMA holds several ties with the local educational community, including key academic partnerships with Hart Career Center and Presser Performing Arts Center. The Academy also works with the Mexico School District through Bright Futures Mexico’s Lunch Buddies program. Through this program, MMA cadets mentor local elementary school children.
MMA cadets regularly visit and have lunch with local elementary school kids, mentoring them through the Bright Futures Mexico Lunch Buddies Program. Photo from Feb. 2022 of Cadet Gabriel Iglesias Osorio, a current MMA high school junior from Antiguo Cuscatlan, El Salvador.
The Academy annually hosts six major events that average 300 to 400 guests per event visiting Mexico and the surrounding mid-Missouri area. These guests stay in local hotels and other housing options, eat at local restaurants and shop in local stores. In addition, MMA’s summer camp operations annually bring approximately 1500 campers and other guests to the Mexico area each summer.
MMA offers the Mexico Community Scholarship to students from Mexico, Missouri, who show leadership potential. The Academy and three other foundations, the Miriam Arnold Edmonston Foundation, the Griffin Family Foundation and the Stribling Foundation, make this renewable scholarship possible.
While most cadets live at the Academy, many local families also utilize the day cadet education option to provide their young men with MMA’s lessons of structure, self-discipline, personal responsibility and accountability.
This year marks the second time MMA has received the Commerce & Industry Award. The Academy previously received the award in 1988, when Colonel Charles R. Stribling III was president. Today, his nephew R. Stribling Koster is chairman of the MMA Board of Trustees, continuing the Stribling family legacy of support for the Academy and Mexico.
MMA was selected for this honor the Mexico Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Committee, including President Todd Geeson, President-Elect Josh Frantz, Past-President Melanie Utterback, Treasurer Vicki Oligschlager, Vice President-Operations, Brooke Oliver, Vice President-Business Services Logan Ray, Vice President-Community Betterment & Civic Affairs Matt Gowin, Vice President-Economic Development & Progress Mexico President Robby Miller, Audrain County Commissioner Alan Winders, City of Mexico Manager Bruce Slagle, and Assistant City Manager/Director of Economic Development Amy O’Brien.
MMA will host the Oct. 19 Commerce and Industry Appreciation Dinner at Centennial Gymtorium on campus. Tickets are $40.00 each. Reservations are required by October 5 and may be made through the Chamber office by calling 573-581-2765 or emailing email@example.com.