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A Deep Dive into Private Military Schools in America

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Private Military Schools in America

Military schools are institutions that instill military-style training and discipline into their students. These schools actively strive to cultivate their cadets’ physical, mental, and moral attributes, equipping them for the rigors of higher education or careers within the armed forces. Whether public or private, these institutions cater to various educational levels, from elementary to postgraduate studies.

Private military schools, a distinctive subset, operate independently from government funding or oversight. Typically overseen by religious organizations, non-profit foundations, or individual benefactors, these institutions boast greater autonomy and flexibility in shaping their curriculum, determining admission criteria, and setting fees. The hallmark of private military schools lies in their ability to provide smaller class sizes, foster a more intimate learning environment, provide personalized attention, and offer many extracurricular activities.

Venturing into the landscape of American education reveals a myriad of private military schools, each weaving its tapestry of history, mission, and culture. The following provides a succinct exploration of some of these institutions, shedding light on the diverse offerings that contribute to the rich mosaic of military education in the United States.

College-Preparatory Military Schools

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A Deep Dive into Private Military Schools in America

Military Schools in the US and Puerto Rico: A Brief Overview

Military schools are educational institutions that combine academic excellence with military training and discipline. They aim to prepare students for college and life by developing their leadership, character, and citizenship skills. Military schools can be coeducational or single-gender, boarding or day, and offer various grades and programs. This article will introduce some US and Puerto Rico military schools, highlighting their history, curriculum, and achievements.

Admiral Farragut Academy: A Naval Science and Engineering School

Admiral Farragut Academy is a coeducational boarding and day school in St. Petersburg, Florida. It serves students from grades 8 to 12, as well as postgraduates. The school was established in 1933 and named after David Farragut, the first admiral of the US Navy. The school is known for its naval science and engineering programs, including navigation, seamanship, scuba diving, robotics, and aerospace engineering courses. The school also offers aviation and marine science academies, where students can learn to fly planes or sailboats. The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools and the Florida Council of Independent Schools accredit the school.

American Military Academy: The Oldest Private Military School in Puerto Rico

American Military Academy is a coeducational day school in Guaynabo, Puerto Rico. It’s a private military school serving pre-kindergarten to grade 12 students. The school was founded in 1908 and is the oldest private military school in Puerto Rico. The Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools and the Puerto Rico Department of Education accredit the school. The school has a strong academic curriculum that covers four languages: English, Spanish, French, and Mandarin. The school also offers extracurricular activities such as sports, music, art, and community service.

Army and Navy Academy: The Only Military School on the West Coast

Army and Navy Academy is an all-boys boarding and day school in Carlsbad, California. It’s a private military school serving students from grades 7 to 12 and postgraduates. The school was founded in 1910 and is the only military school on the West Coast. The Western Association of Schools and Colleges and the California Association of Independent Schools accredited the school. The rigorous academic program emphasizes leadership, character, and citizenship. The school also offers specialized programs such as the Warrior Scholar Program, the Global Studies Program, and the Leadership Education Training Program.

Benedictine College Preparatory: A Classical Liberal Arts Private Military School

Benedictine College Preparatory is an all-boys day school located in Richmond, Virginia. It serves students from grades 9 to 12. The school was founded in 1911 by the Benedictine monks of Mary, Mother of the Church Abbey. The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools and the Virginia Association of Independent Schools accredit the school. The school has a classical liberal arts curriculum integrates faith, reason, and virtue. The school also offers advanced courses such as the Honors, Dual Enrollment, and International Student Program.

Benedictine Military School: A College Preparatory School

Benedictine Military School is an all-boys day school located in Savannah, Georgia. It serves students from grades 9 to 12. The school was founded in 1902 by the Benedictine monks of St. Vincent Archabbey. The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools and the Georgia Independent School Association accredit the school. The school has a college preparatory curriculum that fosters academic excellence, spiritual growth, and moral integrity. The school also offers extracurricular activities like athletics, clubs, and service projects.

Camden Military Academy: The Official State Military Academy of South Carolina

Camden Military Academy is an all-boys boarding and day school in Camden, South Carolina. It’s a private military school serving students from grades 7 to 12 and postgraduates. The school was founded in 1958 and is the official state military academy of South Carolina. The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools and the South Carolina Independent School Association accredit the school. The school has a challenging academic program that prepares students for college and life. The school also offers specialized programs such as the Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps, the Academic Assistance Program, and the Leadership Development Program.

Carson-Newman Military School: A Christian Liberal Arts School

Carson-Newman Military School is an all-boys boarding and day school in Hickory, North Carolina. It serves students from grades 6 to 12. The school was founded in 2021 and is affiliated with Carson-Newman University, a Christian liberal arts institution. The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools and the North Carolina Association of Independent Schools accredit the school. The school has a comprehensive academic program emphasizes critical thinking, creativity, and communication. The school also offers extracurricular activities such as arts, athletics, and spiritual formation.

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Culver Military Academy: One of the Largest and Most Prestigious Military Schools in the Country

Culver Military Academy is an all-boys boarding school located in Culver, Indiana. It serves students from grades 9 to 12, as well as postgraduates. The school was founded in 1894 and is one of the country’s largest and most prestigious military schools. The North Central Association of Colleges and Schools and the Independent Schools Association of the Central States accredit the school. The school has a rigorous academic program that includes the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme and the Advanced Placement courses. The school also offers specialized programs such as the Black Horse Troop, the Culver Legion, and the Culver Summer Schools and Camps.

Fork Union Military Academy: A One Subject Plan School

Fork Union Military Academy is an all-boys boarding and day school in Fork Union, Virginia. It serves students from grades 7 to 12, as well as postgraduates. The school was established in 1898 and is affiliated with the Baptist General Association of Virginia. The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools and the Virginia Association of Independent Schools accredit the school. The school has a unique academic program that follows the One Subject Plan, where students take one course at a time for seven weeks. This allows them to focus on one subject and master it before moving on to the next one.

Hargrave Military Academy: A STEM and Leadership School

Hargrave Military Academy is an all-boys boarding and day school in Chatham, Virginia. It serves students from grades 7 to 12, as well as postgraduates. The private military school was founded in 1909 and is affiliated with the Baptist General Association of Virginia. The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools and the Virginia Association of Independent Schools accredit the school. The school has a strong academic program focused on STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) education and leadership development. The school also offers extracurricular activities such as athletics, fine arts, and military drill.

Marion Military Institute: The Oldest Military Junior College in the Nation

Marion Military Institute is a coeducational boarding and day school in Marion, Alabama. It serves students from grades 11 to 12, as well as postgraduates. The school was founded in 1842 and is the oldest military junior college in the nation. The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools and the Alabama Independent School Association accredit the school. The school has a dual-enrollment program that allows students to earn college credits while completing their high school diploma. The school also offers specialized programs such as the Service Academy Program, the Early Medical School Acceptance Program, and the Early Commissioning Program.

New Mexico Military Institute: The Only State-Supported Military School in the Country

New Mexico Military Institute is a coeducational boarding and day school in Roswell, New Mexico. It serves students from grades 9 to 12, as well as postgraduates. The private military school was founded in 1891 and is the only state-supported military school in the country. The North Central Association of Colleges and Schools and the New Mexico Public Education Department accredit the school. The school has a college preparatory program that includes the Early Commissioning Program, where students can become commissioned officers in the US Army Reserve or National Guard after two years of college. The school also offers extracurricular activities such as sports, music, and drama.

Norwich University: The Oldest Private Military College in the Country

Norwich University is a coeducational boarding and day school in Northfield, Vermont. It serves students from grades 9 to 12, as well as postgraduates. The school was founded in 1819 and is the oldest private military college in the country. The New England Association of Schools and Colleges and the Vermont Agency of Education accredited the school. The school has a rigorous academic program that offers the Corps of Cadets, the Civilian Lifestyle, and the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) options. The school also offers specialized programs such as the Honors Program, the Study Abroad Program, and the Cybersecurity Program.

Saint James School: The Oldest Episcopal Boarding School in the Country

Saint James School is a coeducational boarding and day school in Faribault, Minnesota. It serves students from grades 6 to 12, as well as postgraduates. The school was founded in 1865 and is the oldest Episcopal boarding school in the country. The North Central Association of Colleges and Schools and the Independent Schools Association of the Central States accredit the school. The school has a challenging academic program, including the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme and the Advanced Placement courses. The school also offers extracurricular activities such as arts, athletics, and service learning.

The Citadel, The Military College of South Carolina: One of the Six Senior Military Colleges in the Country

The Citadel, The Military College of South Carolina, is a coeducational boarding and day school in Charleston, South Carolina. It serves students from grades 9 to 12, as well as postgraduates. The school was founded in 1842 and is one of the six senior military colleges in the country. The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools and the South Carolina Commission on Higher Education accredit the school. The school has a demanding academic program requires students to adhere to the Honor Code, the Fourth Class System, and the Professional Military Education. The school also offers specialized programs such as the Citadel Graduate College, the Citadel Summer School, and the Citadel Online.

Virginia Military Institute: The Oldest State-Supported Military College in the Country

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Virginia Military Institute is a coeducational boarding and day school in Lexington, Virginia. It serves students from grades 9 to 12, as well as postgraduates. The school was established in 1839 and is the oldest state-supported military college in the country. The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools and the Virginia State Council of Higher Education accredit the school. The school has a rigorous academic program, including the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) and the Institute Honors Program.

Virginia Military Institute is known for its excellence, honor, and service tradition. The school follows a military system that requires students to wear uniforms live in barracks, and participate in parades and drills. The school also has a strict honor code that forbids lying, cheating, stealing, and tolerating those who do. The school aims to produce leaders, scholars, and citizens graduates.

Virginia Military Institute offers a variety of majors and minors in engineering, science, liberal arts, and social sciences. The school also offers the ROTC program for all four branches of the US military: Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marines. The school also offers the Institute Honors Program, a selective program that provides opportunities for independent research, study abroad, and interdisciplinary courses. The school also has a high reputation for its athletic teams, which compete in the NCAA Division I Southern Conference.

Junior Private Military Schools

Howe Military School: An Episcopal Church Affiliated School

Howe Military School is a coeducational boarding and day school in Howe, Indiana. It serves students from grades 7 to 12. The school was founded in 1884 and is affiliated with the Episcopal Church. The North Central Association of Colleges and Schools and the Independent Schools Association of the Central States accredit the school. The school has a college preparatory program that emphasizes character development, leadership skills, and service learning.

Howe Military School is known for its honor, duty, and respect tradition. The school follows a military system that requires students to wear uniforms live in barracks, and participate in ceremonies and inspections. The school also has a chapel program that provides spiritual guidance and education. The school offers a variety of courses and electives in mathematics, science, language arts, social studies, and foreign languages. The school also offers extracurricular activities such as sports, music, art, and drama.

Missouri Military Academy: One of the Oldest Military Schools in the Country

Missouri Military Academy is an all-boys boarding and day school in Mexico, Missouri. It serves students from grades 6 to 12, as well as postgraduates. The school was founded in 1889 and is one of the oldest military schools in the country. The North Central Association of Colleges and Schools and the Independent Schools Association of the Central States accredit the school. The school has a comprehensive academic program that includes the Duke of Edinburgh Award, the National Honor Society, and the Model United Nations.

Missouri Military Academy is known for its “Courage, Honor, and Truth” motto. The school follows a military system that requires students to wear uniforms live in barracks, and participate in parades and competitions. The school also has a character development program that teaches students the core values of the school. The school offers various courses and electives in science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics. The school also offers specialized programs such as the Middle School Academy, the High School Academy, and the College Preparatory Academy.

Miami Military Academy: The Newest Private Military School in the Country

Miami Military Academy is a coeducational boarding and day school in Miami, Florida. It serves students from grades 6 to 12. The school was founded in 2020 and is the newest military school in the country. The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools and the Florida Association of Independent Schools accredit the school. The school has a progressive academic program that incorporates technology, innovation, and entrepreneurship.

Miami Military Academy is known for its vision of “Empowering Future Leaders.” The school follows a military system that requires students to wear uniforms, live in dorms, and participate in drills and exercises. The school also has a mentorship program that connects students with successful alumni and professionals. The school offers diverse courses and electives in business, engineering, design, and media. The school also offers extracurricular activities such as clubs, teams, and events.

North Georgia Military College: The Oldest Military Junior College in the Country

North Georgia Military College is a coeducational boarding and day school in Milledgeville, Georgia. It serves students from grades 6 to 12, as well as postgraduates. The school was founded in 1873 and is the oldest military junior college in the country. The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools and the Georgia Board of Education accredit the school. The school has a dual-enrollment program that allows students to earn college credits while completing their high school diploma.

North Georgia Military College is known for its mission of “Developing the Whole Person.” The school follows a military system that requires students to wear uniforms live in barracks, and participate in formations and ceremonies. The school also has a leadership program that trains students to become effective leaders and followers. The school offers a variety of courses and electives in the fields of liberal arts, sciences, and humanities. The school also offers specialized programs such as the Service Academy Program, the Early Medical School Acceptance Program, and the Early Commissioning Program.

St. John’s Military Academy: An Episcopal Church Affiliated School

St. John’s Military Academy is an all-boys boarding and day school in Salina, Kansas. It serves students from grades 6 to 12. The school was founded in 1887 and is affiliated with the Episcopal Church. The North Central Association of Colleges and Schools and the Kansas State Department of Education accredit the school. The school has a college preparatory program that fosters academic achievement, moral values, and physical fitness.

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St. John’s Military Academy is known for its “Faith, Wisdom, Service” motto. The school follows a military system that requires students to wear uniforms, live in barracks and participate in ceremonies and activities. The school also has a chapel program that provides religious education and worship. The school offers a variety of courses and electives in mathematics, science, language arts, social studies, and fine arts. The school also offers extracurricular activities such as sports, clubs, and community service.

The Leelanau School: An Experiential Learning School

The Leelanau School is a coeducational boarding and day school located in Glen Arbor, Michigan. It serves students from grades 9 to 12. The school was founded in 1929 and is one of the few military schools focusing on experiential learning. The North Central Association of Colleges and Schools and the Independent Schools Association of the Central States accredit the school. The school has a holistic academic program integrating outdoor education, arts, and service.

The Leelanau School is known for its vision of “Learning by Doing.” The school follows a military system that requires students to wear uniforms, live in dorms, and participate in drills and exercises. The school also has a personal growth program that helps students develop self-awareness, confidence, and resilience. The school offers diverse courses and humanities, sciences, and languages electives. The school also offers specialized programs such as the Adventure Education Program, the Arts Education Program, and the Service Learning Program.

Other Private Military Schools

  • AMCSUS (Marion, Alabama): This is not a school but an association of military colleges and schools in the United States. It was established in 1914 and has 38 member institutions that offer different levels of military education. It is approved by the US Department of Defense and the US Department of Education. Its mission is to advocate and support the interests and values of military education in America.
  • Fishburne Military School (Waynesboro, Virginia): This is an all-boys boarding and day school that serves students in grades 7-12 and postgraduate students. It was founded in 1879 and is Virginia’s oldest and smallest military school. The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools and the Virginia Association of Independent Schools accredit it. It offers a traditional academic program emphasizing discipline, honor, and leadership.
  • Oak Ridge Military Academy (Oak Ridge, North Carolina): This coeducational boarding and day school serves students in grades 7-12 and postgraduate students. It was founded in 1852 and is the third-oldest military school in the country. The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools and the North Carolina Association of Independent Schools accredit it. It offers a rigorous academic program that includes the International Baccalaureate Middle Years Programme and the Advanced Placement courses.
  • Seabrook Military Academy (Seabrook, Texas): This coeducational boarding and day school serves grades 6-12. It was founded in 2022 and is the newest military school in Texas. The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools and the Texas Private School Accreditation Commission accredit it. It offers a modern academic program incorporating STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) education and global citizenship.
  • Valley Forge Military Academy (Wayne, Pennsylvania): This coeducational boarding and day school serves students in grades 7-12 and postgraduate students. It was founded in 1928 and is modeled after the British military schools. The Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools and the Pennsylvania Department of Education accredit it. It offers a challenging academic program that includes the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) and the Five Cornerstones of Success: Academic Excellence, Character Development, Personal Motivation, Physical Development, and Leadership.

What is the history of military schools in America?

Unveiling the history of military schools in America reveals institutions designed to impart military-style training and discipline. These schools aim to foster students’ physical, mental, and moral qualities while preparing them for college or careers in the armed forces. The inaugural establishment, the United States Military Academy (West Point), emerged 1802 as a training ground for the U.S. Corps of Engineers. This institution set a precedent for numerous public and private military schools, spanning educational levels from elementary to postgraduate.

How do private military schools compare to public ones regarding cost and quality?

Public military schools, often state-supported and affiliated with the Department of Defense or the Coast Guard, typically offer free or low-cost education. They have strict admission requirements and high academic standards. On the other hand, private military schools, while more expensive, provide greater autonomy, flexibility, smaller class sizes, and more personalized attention. Private military schools’ curriculum, admission procedures, and fees are more flexible, and the presence of ROTC or commissioning programs depends on their affiliation.

How do private military schools differ from public ones?

Public military schools, funded or operated by the government, have strict admission requirements and often offer free or low-cost education. Despite being more expensive, private military schools offer autonomy, flexibility, smaller class sizes, and personalized attention. These schools also have more religious affiliation, culture, and mission diversity. The flexibility extends to their curriculum, admission procedures, and fees, and the availability of ROTC or commissioning programs depends on their affiliation.

What are some common misconceptions about military schools?

Addressing common misconceptions surrounding military schools is crucial. These institutions are not exclusively for troubled or delinquent students, nor are they characterized by harshness or abuse. Contrary to the misconception that they are only for boys, military schools are diverse and varied in student body, gender composition, environment, purpose, and performance. Additionally, the idea that military schools are exclusively for those wanting to join the military or are inferior to regular schools is inaccurate. Military schools provide a structured, disciplined, and rewarding environment suitable for those seeking a unique educational experience.

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