Spring Family Weekend 2017



The ceremony began with recognition of Gabriel Elizondo ’17 and the fourteen members of his drill team, who took second place out of 16 teams at the Association of Military Colleges and Schools of the United States (AMCSUS) Close-Order Drill Competition.

Each competing team was given a sealed envelope. The cadet commander had 60 seconds to review it and then execute the movements on the card. From the opening of the envelope to the completion of the march, the entire drill was videotaped continuously and executed only once under supervision. The videos were then judged by a panel of impartial military officers.

Winners were announced February 27 at the annual AMCSUS conference in Arlington, Virginia.

For leading the team to victory, Academy president Charles McGeorge presented Elizondo with the AMCSUS Presidential Medal.

“I want to congratulate our drill team for finishing second in the nation,” McGeorge said. “I am so proud of our boys, as were all the [AMCSUS school] presidents.”

Drill team members were: Angel Alcaraz, Rhys Bullington, Juan Pablo Cepeda, Braulio Diaz, Griffin Gilman, Victor Armando Leon, Victor Arturo Leon, Carlos Liriano, Tamir Nyamdavaa, Itiel Palacios, Gabriel Perez, Javier Salazar, Felix Tonella and Victor Vielledent. 

McGeorge and LT Sean Peters next presented nine cadets with the bronze Duke of Edinburgh’s Award medal. Junior Garrett Stafford then received the silver Duke of Edinburgh’s Award medal.

For the third consecutive schoolyear, the Academy offered cadets the opportunity to earn Duke of Edinburgh's Award medals. To earn a DOE award, cadets must provide community service, cultivate a skill, complete physical training and plan and embark on an Adventurous Journey.

Receiving the bronze award were: sophomore Samuel Guo; juniors Victor Armando Leon, Victor Arturo Leon, Gabriel Perez and Alexander Schaaf; and seniors Jose Balanza, Ramon Rodriguez, Benjamin Snider and Aaron Thompson.

"It is a display of continuous commitment and development in character," Peters said of the award.


The Spring Family Weekend festivities continued with the annual Ladies’ Tea and middle school science fair on Saturday, April 29.

MMA mothers, grandmothers, sisters and other female family members gathered in the Barnard Hall atrium for the beach-themed Ladies’ Tea. The event featured speeches from Academy president Charles McGeorge as well as Parents Committee representatives Dr. Ann Murphy and Kate Becker.

Parents were then invited to peruse middle school science fair displays set up in the second floor middle school hallway. Below are the contest results.

First Place Overall & First Place 8th Grade
Peter Casella, “Natural Electricity”

Second Place Overall & First Place 7th Grade
Scout Jones & Tristen Mason, “Viscosity of Soaps”

Eighth Grade Second Place
Jose Karam & Patricio Valdes, “Hydrogen for Dummies”

Eighth Grade Third Place
Shane Macon, “Vortex Blender”

Seventh Grade Second Place
Felix Tonella & Victor Vielledent, “My Vibrating Violin”



The festivities continued Saturday evening with the annual Festival of the Arts, which featured songs by the High School Band, Jazz Band, Middle School Orchestra and Cadet Chorus. Performances were punctuated by the presentation of journalism, band, choir and art awards.


Following the first Cadet Chorus performance, choir director Rob McGrath presented the Philip Russell Award for an outstanding first year choir member to sophomore Aocheng Wu. Junior Eryao Zhang received the Outstanding Contribution to the Cadet Chorus Award.



Several student-journalists were recognized for their contributions to the Taps and Eagle during the 2016-17 school year.

The following students received the Journalism Bar: Clifton Cline, William English, Francisco Fletes, Christian Foster, Emiliano Gonzalez, Denver Jenkins, Connor Sims, Garrett Stafford, Aaron Thompson, Liam VanHoesen, Aocheng Wu, Alican Yumuk, Fernando Zahuita.

Each year, the journalism bar is awarded to those students who go above and beyond the basic duties of a cadet photographer. Recipients of the journalism bar must display exemplary conduct and significant written or photographic contribution to the production of the yearbook and newspaper.

Senior Aaron Thompson then received the Lyle C. Wilson Memorial Award while yearbook editor sophomore Christian Foster received the Pearl Green Whitney plaque.


Following the presentation of journalism awards and a performance by the High School Band, Festival of the Arts attendees were invited to peruse the Epple Memorial Art Show in the Centennial Gymtorium Mezzanine.


Juan Pablo Cepeda '18: Commandant's Award and Best in Painting
Nyamkhuu Chinguun '18: Dean's Award
Alejandro Cohen '20: Third Place Overall
Shane Macon '21: President's Award
Gregory Prinster '17: Best in Clay, Best of Show and President's Award
Qitao Wang '20: Second Place Overall
Zenghui Zhang '17: First Place Overall and Best in Drawing



Cheryl Morris next took the stage to present middle and high school art awards. The star of the show was senior Zenghui Zhang of China, whose artwork appeared on the Festival of the Arts program. Zhang received the first-ever Senior Award for portfolio achievement, having blown away representatives of Washington University at National Portfolio Day on October 23.


"The college professors have seen a million portfolios. They were blown away by Zhang Z's pieces. His use of color, his use of line, they couldn't get over it," Morris said.

Samuel Carr '18 and Victor Vielledent ’22: The Heart & Soul Award for dedication to projects


Nyamkhuu Chinguun '18: The Vincent Van Gogh Award for the best painter


Shuo Dong '19: The Michelangelo Art Award for best sculpture


Gabriel Elizondo '17 and Alejandro Mercado ’22: Most Improved Artist Award


Mig Gisa '17 and Tamar Modise ’21: Banksy Graffiti Art Award


Parker Koontz '17: Creative Arts Plaque and Leonardo Da Vinci Award for a writer, artist and renaissance man


Shane Macon '21: Middle School Art Achievement Plaque


Luis Nachon '18: Norman Rockwell Award for superior illustration skills


Gabriel Penha '20: Art Achievement Plaque


Gregory Prinster '17 and Timothy De Groot '18: The Jackson Pollock Award for the most active students during the second semester


Mauricio Trevino '20 and Rory Davis '17: The Pablo Picasso Art Award for hard work & improvement


Yinzhou Wang '18: Best Unconventional Artist


The evening concluded with performances by the Middle School Orchestra and High School Band as well as music awards presented by bandmaster WO2 Andrew “Freddie” Lomas.


First up was the Best Middle School Musician Award, which went to first violinist Mario Garcia '21. As part of a new middle school art and music pilot program, seventh and eighth grade cadets studied both violin and clarinet during the fall 2016 semester.


"It's been so far a very successful program," Lomas said. "The second semester we then allowed the boys to go on to choose a band instrument."


Sophomore Chandler Bolinger then received the John Philip Sousa Award for Outstanding Contribution to the MMA Band while Mitchell Duing received the Crain-Jorishie Jazz Musician Award.


“He shows real potential in the art of jazz music,” McGrath said of the junior.



The day began with a senior class pancake breakfast fundraiser in the MMA Dining Hall. Up next was a battalion review and flower pinning ceremony.


During this traditional MMA event, mothers pin their cadet with a red carnation provided by MMA. Mothers and grandparents who cannot attend are represented by a faculty member or other MMA mother.


During the battalion review, one cadet from each LET level received the Superior Cadet Award. Students received the honor for displaying leadership potential, discipline, courtesy, character and excellence in military and academic scholarship.


LET I: Parker Yeary '18
LET II: Victor Arturo Leon '18
LET III: Carlos Liriano '18
LET IV: Aaron Thompson '17


Later that evening, cadets and their families gathered in the Memorial Chapel for the weekly Vespers service, which featured a special guest speaker: General John “Black Jack” Pershing played by Paul Baum.

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